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Dr. Yvonne Golightly’s research focuses on the long-term effects of musculoskeletal injury and disorders of the lower extremity. These long-term consequences include osteoarthritis (OA), musculoskeletal pain, and disability. She is especially interested in identifying modifiable risk factors to develop non-pharmacologic/non-surgical strategies for the management and treatment of these musculoskeletal disorders.

Additionally, her research includes rehabilitation approaches for OA, health equity, physical activity, chronic musculoskeletal pain, lower body biomechanics, biomarkers related to injury and OA, and the genetics of OA.

She is co-Principal Investigator of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project (JoCoOA) and Johnston County Health Study (JoCoHS) with Dr. Amanda Nelson. Since 2006, she has led multiple studies in the JoCoOA to examine lower body OA, leg length inequality, foot problems, falls, and serum biomarkers of OA. She is the UNC Principal Investigator of the Genetics of Osteoarthritis study (GO) and the Genetics of Generalized Osteoarthritis study (GOGO).

Recently, she was PI on an NIH R01 examining OA, joint hypermobility, and injury in the JoCoOA, GO, and GOGO cohorts. She was lead PI on a NIH R21 with Dr. Abbie Smith-Ryan (UNC Exercise and Sport Science) examining high intensity interval training as a novel physical activity approach for the management of knee OA. She is currently UNC Site PI on a NIH R01 examining biomarkers of low back pain (lead PI: Dr. Adam Goode, Duke University).

Core Team Member:

Tessa Walker
Research Project Director for the Johnston County Health Study
Phone: (919) 934-1295