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Peter Leininger, Ph.D. demonstrates blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy using the BFR Delphi unit and light-load exercise with a tourniquet. From left: Dr. Leininger and DPT graduate students Matthew Aitken ’17, Omar Amer, Stephanie Klug (demonstrating the therapy), Berta Carmo, Jonathan Mayes, Dublin, Dannylyn Manabat, Christine Kiefer ’17 and Sophia DiCamillo ’17.

Leininger Leads Students in BFR Therapy Research

Professor Peter Leininger, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy, said there are amazing new technologies in exercise science that are revolutionizing the field, shortening the time from surgery to full recovery. Among the most exciting is blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy. Essentially, a tourniquet is wrapped around the upper or lower extremity, with controlled and monitored blood flow restriction to the muscles and joints of the knee, hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow or wrist, which greatly hastens the rehabilitation process.

Dr. Leininger, the only physical therapist in the Scranton area currently certified in BFR, explained that the method started in the military, then spread to professional sports and is now being used by major universities, clinics and hospitals to treat their injured athletes.

In January, Dr. Leininger and his students presented their BFR research (a systematic review) at the annual American Physical Therapy Association’s national conference in Washington, D.C. They are also completing a second systematic review studying the effect of BFR training with the older adult population. Several research studies are planned at the University utilizing the BFR Delphi unit (currently the only FDA approved blood flow restriction device). The BFR device is being used on campus with several patients following ACL reconstruction to their knees. “What is clear is that light-load exercise with a tourniquet that is used properly is safe and effective,” said Dr. Leininger. In January, Dr. Leininger and his students presented their BFR research (a systematic review) at the annual American Physical Therapy Association’s national conference in Washington, D.C. They are also completing a second systematic review studying the effect of BFR training with the older adult population.

Professor Emeritus, University Historian Pledges Gift to Humanities Initiative

frankhomer.jpgFrancis X.J. Homer, Ph.D. ’64, professor emeritus of history, University historian and current adjunct professor in history, pledged $100,000 to support the Humanities Initiative at Scranton.

Interested in promoting the study of the humanities — culture, history, language, literature, philosophy, religion — at the University, a group of faculty started the initiative in fall 2017 with support from the College of Arts and Sciences dean. In promoting the humanities, the departments seek to improve the quality of the co-curricular education for the larger student body and to increase the number of students studying the humanities. The supporters on campus plan to do this by enriching the culture of the humanities, promoting interdisciplinary inquiry and research among faculty and students, and fostering civic engagement and collaboration with the larger community.

In announcing his gift, Homer said, “I am deeply grateful to Father Scott Pilarz, S.J., president of The University of Scranton, for his endorsement and commitment to our Humanities Initiative, which serves our broad community.”

Professor and Alumna Research Effects of Climate Change Over Intersession

votzow.jpgFrom left: Laura Romanovich ‘18 and Dr. Voltzow at Romanovich’s graduation last May.

A joint intersession project by Janice Voltzow, Ph.D., whose research is focused on understanding the relationship between structure and function in organisms and how that understanding can shed light on their evolution, and Laura Romanovich ‘18 researched climate change and its effects on coral reefs. “Since coral reefs are difficult to find in Scranton, we decided to use sea anemones as models for coral,” said Dr. Voltzow.

Romanovich and Dr. Voltzow identified how to carefully control the temperature and carbon dioxide levels in small tanks of anemones and developed the methods to measure their responses.

“Changes in temperature and pH are having a series of effects on marine organisms from the poles to the tropics,” said Dr. Voltzow.


A sea anemone that was bleached as a result of being exposed to elevated temperatures for four weeks.

According to Dr. Voltzow, corals and their relatives, the sea anemones, are facing a multitude of threats, including a phenomenon known as bleaching. When corals and anemones are exposed to warming events, they may lose these tiny, photosynthetic organisms within their cells, causing them to turn white, or bleach.

“Once an animal bleaches, it is difficult for it to recover,” she said. “Bleaching events are becoming increasingly common; tropical corals are facing a potential mass extinction within the next century.”

The first set of experiments provided the data for Romanovich’s honors thesis.

“We have found that increased temperature has a greater effect on bleaching than does increased levels of carbon dioxide, but that the combined effect can be complex,” said Dr. Voltzow.

Faculty Notes

Philosophy Professor Receives Earl Award

dsc_5491.jpgRev. Ronald McKinney, S.J., Ph.D., professor of philosophy, received the John L. Earl III Award for service to the University, the faculty and the wider community. “I am glad today that we honor his tireless work in the service of so many generations of Scranton students,” said University President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., adding that he often hears alumni speak of Father McKinney “with tremendous admiration, affection and respect.” Fr. McKinney joined the faculty in 1984.

Professor Named Collegeville Institute Scholar

vandyke.jpgGretchen J. Van Dyke, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, was selected as a 2018-19 Resident Scholar at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research in Collegeville, Minnesota. Dr. Van Dyke, who will research an edited collection project titled “Teaching Mission as a Vocation in the Jesuit Tradition,” joins just nine other scholars from across the nation who will spend a semester or academic year at the institute that supports “scholarly research that would nurture the best Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox theology.”

Accounting Professor Recognized for Professional Experience

doug-boyle-1.jpgDouglas M. Boyle, D.B.A., professor and chair of the Accounting Department, was profiled as one of just six “Professors to Know in Business Programs Based in the Northeast” selected by, an online resource for entrepreneurs. The professors, who teach at business schools in the Northeast with online MBA programs, were selected based on their professional experience and knowledge.

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