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UPMC Endowed Vice Chair for Research,
Professor, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Michael Boninger, MD, UPMC Endowed Vice Chair for Research and professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is a renowned researcher in spinal cord injury and assistive technology.
The author of five U.S. patents, Dr. Boninger is recognized for his extensive research on spinal cord injury, assistive technology and overuse injuries, particularly those associated with manual wheelchair propulsion. He currently receives research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Dr. Boninger also is director of Pitt’s Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury and medical director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), a joint venture among UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, and designated a “Center of Excellence for Wheelchairs and Related Technology” by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition, Dr. Boninger serves as chair of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which currently is ranked among the top recipients of research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Also at the University of Pittsburgh, he holds secondary appointments in the School of Engineering and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Dr. Boninger earned his medical degree at Ohio State University. He did residencies at first St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor and then the University of Michigan Medical Center, where he became the Chief Resident, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He came to the University of Pittsburgh when he won a postdoctoral fellowship in Engineering & Rehabilitation Technology in 1994.
Dr. Boninger is certified by both the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine and the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is a Board Member of the Association of Academic Physiatrists and the Association of Academic Physiatrists. In 2006 he was inducted into the National Spinal Cord Injury Association Hall of Fame. He is also active in the community, having served as a judge in the Think-a-Thon, held by Pittsburgh Public Schools, and in the First Lego League, Robotics Competition.
Dr. Boninger’s research interests include: medical student research educations; bioengineering of assistive technology; multiple sclerosis; wheelchair propulsion biomechanics; secondary disabilities in wheelchair users; upper extremity pain in wheelchair users; and diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.