Benjamin Conner

Ph.D. Student - Phoenix

GS 2 (MD/PhD student), College of Medicine – Phoenix

Year Entered MD/PhD Program: 2017

Degrees Received: 

  • Master of Science in Biomechanics and Movement Science, University of Delaware; August 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Biological Science with Honors in Biological Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University; May 2015

Research lab: Northern Arizona University Biomechatronics Lab (PI: Zachary Lerner, PhD):

About Me: 

A native of the east coast, I grew up in central Pennsylvania. I attended Pennsylvania State University, where I was first exposed to research under the advisement of Dr. Tim Ryan, a physical anthropologist well known for his expertise in functional and evolutionary morphology. My experience with Dr. Ryan instilled in me a desire to study how our structure informs our function, or how and why we move the way we do. This interest took me to the University of Delaware, where I studied the biomechanics of musculoskeletal development and balance in children with cerebral palsy under Dr. Jeremy Crenshaw and Dr. Christopher Modlesky. My interactions with these children and their families has motivated me to pursue training as a physician scientist, where I can acquire the knowledge and skills that will allow me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of my patients, with the ultimate goal of enabling movement and independence in children with physical disabilities. As a PhD student in the NAU Biomechatronics Lab (PI: Dr. Zach Lerner), I now study the use of robotic exoskeletons for the neurorehabilitation of individuals with cerebral palsy.

Outside of school, I enjoy fly-fishing, hiking, reading, traveling, and spending time with my cats.

Honors & Awards: 

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award, 2017; Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology, University of Delaware
  • Phi Beta Kappa inductee, 2015
  • Penn State Schreyer Honors College Academic Excellence Scholarship, 2011 – 2015

Selected Publications: 

  • Pigman J, Reisman DS, Pohlig RT, Jeka JJ, Wright TR, Conner BC, Petersen DA, Crenshaw JR. Anterior fall-recovery training applied to individuals with chronic stroke. Clinical Biomechanics 69 (2019) 205-214.
  • Conner BC, Petersen DA, Pigman J, Tracy JB, Johnson CL, Manal K, Miller F, Modlesky CM, Crenshaw JR. The cross-sectional relationships between age, standing static balance, and standing dynamic balance reactions in typically developing children. Gait & Posture 73 (2019) 20-25.
  • Togioka B, Conner BC, Bodenheimer CF. Patients with Cerebral Palsy and Other Spastic Disorders Need Your Best Positioning Prowess, In: Avoiding Common Anesthesia Errors, 2nd Edition. Lippincott Williams Wilkins-Walters Kluwer, August 2019.
  • Tracy JB, Petersen DA, Pigman J, Conner BC, Wright HG, Modlesky CM, Miller F, Johnson CL, Crenshaw JR. Dynamic stability during walking in children with and without cerebral palsy. Gait & Posture 72 (2019) 182-187.
  • Rapp van Roden EA, Petersen DA, Pigman J, Conner BC, Richardson RT, Crenshaw JR. The contribution of counter-rotation movements during fall recovery: a validation study. Journal of Biomechanics 78 (2018) 102-108.


  • Conner BC, Lerner ZF. Energy recovery during gait with powered assistance for individuals with cerebral palsy: a pilot study on the impact of increased ankle power. 2019 American Society of Neurorehabilitation Conference.
  • Lerner ZF, Conner BC, Remec NM. Adaptation of Gait Energetics to Ankle Exoskeleton Assistance Within and Across Visits: A Clinical Case Series. IEEE 2019 Wearable Robotics Association Conference (WearRAcon).
  • Conner BC, Singh H, Whitney DG, Miller F, Modlesky CM. Reliable assessment of bone size, composition, and strength in the midtibia of children using magnetic resonance imaging. 2016 American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Conference.
  • Conner BC, Pigman J, Reisman DS, Crenshaw JR. Fall-recovery training of an individual with chronic stroke: a case study on the neuromuscular response. 2016 American Society of Biomechanics Conference.
  • Conner BC, Sukhdeo S, Perchalski B, Raichlen DA, Gosman JH, Ryan TM. Trabecular bone at the knee reflects changes in load orientation during ontogeny. 2015 American Association of Physical Anthropologists Conference.