In addition to teaching in the DPT and PhD programs as an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, Dr. Billinger also has a joint appointment in the School of Medicine in the Department of Neurology and in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at KU Medical Center. She is the course director of PTRS 825 Exercise Physiology and PTRS 826 Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy and is a Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has practiced as a physical therapist since 2004 in the areas of cardiopulmonary and neurological rehabilitation. Dr. Billinger has delivered numerous lectures related to exercise testing and interventions in the stroke population. She currently serves as director of the REACH Laboratory.
Dr. Billinger is a committee member for the healthcare working group of the National Physical Activity Plan; serves on the research committees for the Kansas Physical Therapy Association and the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and the Nominating Committee of the Neurology section of the APTA. She is an active member of the American Heart Association’s Stroke Council and received Fellowship status in 2004.
Dr. Billinger earned a Bachelor of Science in physical education with a minor in gerontology from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., in 2002. She received her Master of Science in physical therapy in 2004 and her PhD in Rehabilitation Science in 2008 from the University of Kansas. Dr. Billinger continues her work at the KU Medical Center as faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.
Dr. Billinger's research interests are aimed at examining the cardiovascular and pulmonary changes that occur in people with chronic disease specifically after stroke. She is interested in understanding the cellular mechanisms that influence vascular function after stroke and how exercise, as a therapeutic intervention may affect vascular health.
The overall goal of the REACH laboratory is to understand the cardiovascular and pulmonary adaptations to chronic disease (heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and cancer).
Selected Current and Recent Projects
Billinger SA (PI) Aerobic exercise and metabolic efficiency during
in-patient stroke rehabilitation
American Physical Therapy Association, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section
This project will examine the metabolic cost of walking and movement in the acute and subacute stage of stroke rehabilitation and whether aerobic exercise improves metabolic cost of activity.
Billinger SA (PI) Examining Vascular Regulation Following Acute Stroke
This project is two-fold: 1) Examine the role of stroke severity and inflammatory markers on vascular system after stroke and 2) Determine whether an aerobic exercise program early after stroke reduces inflammation and improves functional capacity. 1K01HD067318-01A1
Billinger SA (PI) Moderate-Intensity Recumbent Stepping Exercise
on Cardiovascular Health In Stroke
Frontiers Collaborative and Translational Pilot Award
Clinical and Translational Science Awards (NIH, NCRR, UL1RR033179-01)
This project will examine the role of a moderate-intensity exercise program on autonomic function and physical performance during the in-patient stroke rehabilitation.
Billinger SA (PI) Maximizing Exercise Testing Performance in Persons
with Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Kansas Partners in Progress
The purpose of this study is two-fold: 1) Assess exercise test performance using a seated recumbent stepper and a treadmill in individuals with early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and 2) Use clinical assessments of balance and cognitive ability to exercise test performance.
Billinger SA (PI) Aerobic Exercise and Cardiovascular Function in Sub-Acute Stroke
Clinical Pilot Award, KUMC internal grant
This pilot project will examine the effects of aerobic exercise on cardiovascular function in people with sub-acute stroke.
Pohl, P (PI) The Role of Gender and Marital Status on Outcomes
and Placement Following Stroke
Allied Health Research Institute, Fellowship Program