ISU Headlines

Physical therapy doctoral student awarded NIH fellowship

Posted November 13, 2007

Josh Woolstenhulme, an Idaho State University doctoral candidate in the physical and occupational therapy department, has received a research fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Woolstenhulme is the first candidate from the Pacific Northwest to receive this honor. He will begin the fellowship training program in January. The program, which will be completed at the NIH national laboratory in Bethesda, Md., will round out Woolstenhulme’s education at ISU so that he can graduate in 2008 with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

The NIH fellowship is an opportunity for students and researchers to participate in the design, implementation and publication of scientific investigations. Woolstenhulme’s work will center on the study of dermatomyositis, a disease that affects the muscle tissue, and will include participation in pharmaceutical drug trials and physician driven research.

The NIH is part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and works to research and purport important medical discoveries that improve people’s health and extend their lives.

NIH Fellowship offers are predominantly given out to medical, pharmaceutical and post-doctoral applicants. Physical therapists are a minority at NIH: Woolstenhulme is one of only two physical therapy students that the NIH will receive into its fellowship program this year.

 “This opportunity is a chance for me to better learn how leading scientists conduct research so that I can contribute to the body of scientific knowledge in the field of physical therapy,” said Woolstenhulme.

 “Woolstenhulme has been given the selective opportunity to become an ambassador for ISU,” said Alex Urfer, department chair and professor of physical therapy and physiology at ISU. “This fellowship is an opportunity for him to develop his specific research expertise, enhance the research process and work with physicians, pharmacists and other researchers to develop applications to physical therapy intervention.”

According to Urfer, John Hurley, a clinical assistant professor in the physical and occupational therapy department at ISU, was also instrumental in assisting Woolstenhulme to obtain the NIH fellowship as Hurley has an association with several researchers at NIH.