Locomotor Learning Lab

Lab Objectives

The Locomotor Learning Lab, founded in 2019, was established to integrate community involvement, screening, and research for the betterment of the people of the high country. Dr. Skinner and his students are actively engaged in promoting healthy aging and independent lifestyles, in both geriatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

Meet the Lab

Dr. Jared W. Skinner, Assistant Professor, PhD, Graduate Faculty

Hello! I am the director of the Locomotor Learning and Gait Lab at Appalachian State University in the department of Health and Exercise Science.

About me:

  • Geriatrics Advanced Fellowship (2016-2019) – Malcom Randall Veterans Hospital, Gainesville, FL, Emphasis: Neurorehabilitation

  • Ph.D. (2016) – University of Florida, Gainesville, FL – Applied Physiology and Kinesiology - Biomechanics

  • M.S. (2011) – Appalachian State University, Boone, NC – Exercise Science, Research

  • B.S. (2009) – Appalachian State University, Boone, NC – Exercise Science, Strength and Conditioning

Students (Current)

Lizzie Gamwell, BS, Graduate Student

Charlotte, NC

About me:

  • I obtained a Bachelors in Exercise Science from Wingate University. I discovered my passion for the field as a gymnast of 14 years where I saw the significant benefits of a proper strength program in the performance aspects of my sport. I have been a gymnastics coach for 9 years and have enjoyed applying my passion to the sport through strength and conditioning programs and concepts I studied in motor learning. My aspirations and interests stretch far and wide, and I am looking forward to learning more in depth about motor learning, neuroscience, and strength programming and their applications to sport, exercise, and the aging body.

Paige Bramblett, Graduate Student

About me:

  • I am a second year master's student here at Appalachian State University, studying Exercise Science with a Concentration in Research. My research focuses on exploring ways to increase motivation for people, especially those with chronic neuromuscular disorders like Multiple Sclerosis, to become more physically active. I love that this lab allows for a hands-on environment to learn about motor learning, neuroscience, and strength programming especially in their applications to community members with aging bodies and various neuromuscular disorders.

  • I am the Head Coach of the Women's Rugby team at AppState. I love coaching and the rugby community, it's one of my favorite things that I'm involved in!

  • Awarded: Graduate Research Assistant Mentoring Program (GRAM)

Bryan , Graduate Student

About me:

Emily Jones, Undergraduate Research Assistant

About me:

  • “Hello, my name is Emily (EmJ) Jones, I am a senior studying music therapy. After school, I anticipate working in a behavioral health hospital. Outside of school I enjoy mountain biking and watching Criminal Minds on Netflix.”

  • Awarded an Appstate Undergraduate Research Assistantship

Olivia Chapman, Undergraduate Student

About me:

  • My name is Olivia Chapman and I'm from Durham, NC. I am majoring in Exercise Science and I hope to be able to work with hands-on research studies and learn as much as I can. I want to gain experience applying what I learn in class in real life situations and expand on the possible paths I will take with my education!

Alexis King, Undergraduate Student

About me:

  • My name is Alexis King and I am a senior at Appalachian State University majoring in psychology in health studies with a minor in exercise science. While I am working toward becoming an Occupational Therapist, I am excited to be involved in research with the opportunity to apply it to my future career. This hands-on opportunity will allow me to further educate myself in the world of motor learning, biomechanics, neuroscience and strength learning. When I'm not doing school work you can find me outside on a walk, hanging with my family or listening to podcasts.

Benji Pruitt, Undergraduate Student

About me:

  • My name is Benji Pruitt. I’m from Burlington NC and I’m a sophomore in the exercise science program at Appalachian State University. I’m interested in health and wellness, athletic performance, neuroscience, and I’m hoping to expand my horizons by getting involved in research opportunities. If I’m not doing schoolwork you can usually find me on a mountain or in the kitchen.

Audrey Viso, Undergraduate Student

About me:

  • My name is Audrey Viso and I am an exercise science major graduating in May. As a college athlete, I developed a passion for the science behind motor performance, injury, and overall health relating to both athletics and the general population. I plan to attend physician assistant school in the future, so I am looking forward to learning more about the clinical applications of biomechanics and neuroscience while working in the Locomotor Learning Lab.

Current Research

Active Projects

  1. Examining the impact of COVID-19 on Quality of Life and Habitual Activities in Individuals with Parkinson's disease and caregivers.

  2. Health and Fitness Community Assessment Database.

  3. Acute Effects of Exercise on Autonomic Function in Parkinson's Disease.

  4. Assessment and Intervention Across the Cognitive Continuum in Older Adults.

  5. Gait and Balance Assessment in Older Adults in the High Country.

  6. Enhancing Locomotor Learning with Motor Imagery and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

Contact: Lizzie Gamwell, gamwellhe@appstate.edu or Dr. Jared Skinner, skinnerjw@appstate.edu if you are interested in participation and/or volunteering.



PKMAS Instrument walkway

PKMAS (ProtoKinetics Movement Analysis Software) effortlessly records and outputs temporal, spatial and pressure measurements for a wide variety of testing protocols


Functional near-infrared spectroscopy

Measures oxy-, deoxy- and total hemoglobin in a non-invasive and truly portable way

Soterix Medical tDCS - clinical trial stimulator

Every tDCS accessory is optimized for simple and consistent set-up, robust and safe performance, and ease of use.