Christopher K Thompson

Associate Professor
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
1800 N Broad Street


Dr. Christopher K. Thompson earned his DPT and PhD at the University of Illinois at Chicago. During this time, Dr. Thompson examined mechanisms and functional implications of acute increases in maximal torque generation in individuals with chronic spinal cord injuries using biomechanical, electromyographic, pharmacological approaches at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Though a Craig H. Nelisen Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Thompson has investigated motor unit discharge patterns using the in vivo cat preparation at Northwestern University. This work focused on changes in spinal interneurons following acute chronic incomplete spinal cord injury. During the subsequent T32 fellowship, Dr. Thompson expanded his human work, quantifying motor unit discharge patterns in stroke survivors and individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Thompson has published multiple manuscripts, given numerous presentations at local, national, and international conferences, and received awards from the National Institutes of Health, American Physical Therapy Association, and American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Thompson is currently an associate professor in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University. His Spinal Neuromotor Laboratory is located within the Neuromotor Rehabilitation and Virtual Environments Laboratories and contains equipment necessary for contemporary motor unit and kinetic assessments of the human motor system. His laboratory strives to conduct highly collaborative research with the goal of developing life changing therapies for individuals with neurological injury through parallel animal and human investigations of the motor system.


  • PhD, Movement Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • DPT, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • BA, Psychology, Miami University

Curriculum Vitae 

Courses Taught




PHTH 8114



PHTH 8137

Evidence Based Practice II


Selected Publications

  • Taylor, C.A., Kopicko, B.H., Negro, F., & Thompson, C.K. (2022). Sex differences in the detection of motor unit action potentials identified using high-density surface electromyography. J Electromyogr Kinesiol, 65, p. 102675. England. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2022.102675

  • Khurram, O.U., Negro, F., Heckman, C.J., & Thompson, C.K. (2021). Estimates of persistent inward currents in tibialis anterior motor units during standing ramped contraction tasks in humans. J Neurophysiol, 126(1), pp. 264-274. United States. doi: 10.1152/jn.00144.2021

  • Lulic-Kuryllo, T., Thompson, C.K., Jiang, N., Negro, F., & Dickerson, C.R. (2021). Neural control of the healthy pectoralis major from low-to-moderate isometric contractions. J Neurophysiol, 126(1), pp. 213-226. United States. doi: 10.1152/jn.00046.2021

  • McAuliffe, D., Kmiec, T., Taylor, C., & Thompson, C. (2020). Non-Linear Discharge of Human Motor Units during Linear Time-Varying Contractions across Motor Pools. 2020 IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium, SPMB 2020 - Proceedings. doi: 10.1109/SPMB50085.2020.9353641

  • Kim, E.H., Wilson, J.M., Thompson, C.K., & Heckman, C.J. (2020). Differences in estimated persistent inward currents between ankle flexors and extensors in humans. J Neurophysiol, 124(2), pp. 525-535. United States. doi: 10.1152/jn.00746.2019

  • Afsharipour, B., Manzur, N., Duchcherer, J., Fenrich, K.F., Thompson, C.K., Negro, F., Quinlan, K.A., Bennett, D.J., & Gorassini, M.A. (2020). Estimation of self-sustained activity produced by persistent inward currents using firing rate profiles of multiple motor units in humans. J Neurophysiol, 124(1), pp. 63-85. United States. doi: 10.1152/jn.00194.2020

  • Wilson, J.M., Thompson, C.K., McPherson, L.M., Zadikoff, C., Heckman, C.J., & MacKinnon, C.D. (2020). Motor Unit Discharge Variability Is Increased in Mild-To-Moderate Parkinson's Disease. Front Neurol, 11, p. 477. Switzerland. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00477

  • Thompson, C.K., Johnson, M.D., Negro, F., Mcpherson, L.M., Farina, D., & Heckman, C.J. (2019). Exogenous neuromodulation of spinal neurons induces beta-band coherence during self-sustained discharge of hind limb motor unit populations. J Appl Physiol (1985), 127(4), pp. 1034-1041. United States. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00110.2019

  • Hassan, A.S., Kim, E.H., Khurram, O.U., Cummings, M., Thompson, C.K., McPherson, L.M., Heckman, C.J., Dewald, J.P.A., & Negro, F. (2019). Properties of Motor Units of Elbow and Ankle Muscles Decomposed Using High-Density Surface EMG. Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 2019, pp. 3874-3878. United States. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2019.8857475