Pivoting during a pandemic Q&A: Joseph A. Roche

We asked physical therapy faculty members about how their lives at work and at home had been affected since the novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020.

Associate Professor Joseph A. Roche, BPT, PhD

Main mission:

I see myself as a teacher-scholar. My main mission is to engage in teaching, research and service in the general area of movement-centric health care with a specific focus on regenerative muscle biology. Someday, I hope that my work will contribute to reversing muscle loss in patients with muscular dystrophies.Joseph Roche

How the pandemic has affected that mission:

Without a doubt, COVID-19 affected my scholarly activities. However, the new constraints presented new opportunities for scholarship and innovation.

A positive outcome of the pandemic:  

Using my research training to answer questions on COVID-19 and working with my co-investigator and wife, Dr. Renuka Roche, to try to find ways to reduce COVID-19 complications.

A challenging aspect of the pandemic:

The inability to interact in person with my students, colleagues, friends and family. An added source of frustration as a teacher-scholar has been the chaos caused by conflicting and incorrect messages regarding best practices to contain COVID-19, both in the clinic and in the community.

Recent program or research advisee achievements:

My DPT research students Drs. Joshua J. Hass, Chantel A. Basel, Jacob M. Blackmer, Jasmine T. Konja and Amber L. Samojedny were co-authors on the paper titled “The Effects of Concentric and Eccentric Training in Murine Models of Dysferlin‐Associated Muscular Dystrophy,” which was published in Muscle & Nerve.

My DPT research students Drs. Andrea K. Eaton, Collin J. Elkins, Jaclyn P. Johnson and Mattina M. Rosinski were co-authors on the paper titled “Minimally Invasive Muscle Embedding Generates Donor-Cell-Derived Muscle Fibers that Express Desmin and Dystrophin,” which was published in Military Medicine.

Recent personal achievements:

My biomaterials module in the DPT curriculum was featured as a case study in a State of the Field paper, which was published by Nick Willett and other leaders in the field of regenerative rehabilitation in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.A screen shot of the COVID-19 webinar

On July 30, my co-investigator Dr. Renuka Roche and I led a virtual learning experience to discuss health care in the aftermath of COVID-19. This event — a joint effort between Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University (where Renuka is assistant professor of occupational therapy) was moderated by WSU Applebaum Alumni and Donor Relations Officer Jacqueline Martin. Watch this entertaining discussion on YouTube to find out what’s up with the minion and much more!

Take a look at how other faculty members responded to our Pivoting During a Pandemic Q&A.

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