Joseph Lesnak

Address: 3148 MLPhoto of Joseph Lesnak
Phone: (319) 384-4443

Mentor: Kathleen Sluka, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Undergraduate Institution: Creighton University

Graduate Program: Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Year Entered Into Program: 2018

Research Description

My early research, during my physical therapy training at Creighton University, focused on the quantification of different neuromuscular properties of the quadriceps muscle and their impact on functional tasks. The aim of these studies was to determine alternative methods for measuring quadriceps function that better reflect both the demands of daily activity and athletic movements that could be obtained in the clinical setting. This research resulted in NASA student fellowship funding, two first author publications, and several national and local presentations(1,2). After completing my clinical degree, I was drawn to conducting research in an area that reflected my interests of neuroscience and physiology; thus, I became fascinated by the field of chronic pain. I have spent my first year working in Dr. Kathleen Sluka’s neurobiology of pain laboratory examining mechanisms of pain and exercise in the alleviation of chronic pain. My previous clinical and research experience, as well as the support from Dr. Sluka will provide the foundation for developing proposed research project.


  • Fellowship appointment on the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (NIH T32 GM067795), University of Iowa, 2018-present


  1. Lesnak JB, Inoue S, Lima L, Rasmussen L, Sluka KA.: Testosterone protects against the development of widespread muscle pain in mice. Pain. 2020 Jul 8. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001985. Online ahead of print.  PMID: 32658149
  2. Lesnak JB, Sluka KA.: Mechanism of exercise-induced analgesia: what we can learn from physically active animals. PAIN Reports. 2020;5(5).
  3. Lesnak, J., Sluka, K.A.:  Chronic non-inflammatory muscle pain: central and peripheral mediators. Curr Opin Physiol. 11:67-74, 2019.  PMCID: PMC6988739
  4. Lesnak J, Anderson D, Farmer B, Katsavelis D, Grindstaff TL.: Validity of Hand-held Dynomometry in Measuring Quadriceps Strength and Rate of Torque Development. Int J Sports Phys Ther 14(2):180-187, 2019.  PMCID: PMC6449009
  5. Lesnak JB, Anderson DT, Farmer BE, Katsavelis D, Grindstaff TL.:  Ability of Isokinetic Dynamometer to Predict 1 Repetition Maximum Isotonic Knee Extension. J Sport Rehabil 1-5, 2019.  PMID: 31034325