Home / Research / Daniel S. Peterson

Daniel S. Peterson

Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Health Promotion


 (602) 827-2279


  • Research Scientist:  Department of Veterans Affairs (Portland; Salt Lake City; 2014-2016)
  • Postdoc : Oregon Health & Science University (Neurology; 2013-2016)
  • PhD : Washington University in St. Louis (Movement Science; 2009-2013)
  • MSCI   (Master's in Clinical Investigation): Washington University in St. Louis (2011-2013)
  • MS : Pennsylvania State University (Kinesiology; 2006-2008)
  • BS:   University of Florida (Exercise Science; 2002-2006)

Research Interests

My current work focuses on understanding the interaction between balance, postural control, and cognitive deficits in neurological populations such as people with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. In particular, I am interested in how gait and postural control can be improved by rehabilitation using principles of motor learning. I am also engaged in work to better understand reactive, or protective postural responses after a slip or trip in neurological populations.


Research Publications

Peterson DS, & Horak FB. Effects of Freezing of gait on improvement of protective stepping in people with Parkinson’s disease. Accepted & in Press: Neuroscience

Peterson DS, Dijkstra BW*, & Horak FB. (2016) Postural motor learning in People with Parkinson's disease. Accepted & in Press: Journal of Neurology.

Peterson DS & Horak FB. (2016) Effects of levodopa on improvement in protective stepping in people with Parkinson’s disease. Accepted & in Press: Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

Peterson DSGera G, Horak FB, & Fling BW. (2016) Supraspinal control of postural responses in people with multiple sclerosis. Accepted & in Press: Gait & Posture

Peterson DS & Horak FB. (2016) Neural Control of Walking in People with Parkinson’s disease Physiology (Bethesda). 2016 Mar;31(2):95-107. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00034.2015.

Peterson DS, Huisinga J, Spain B, & Horak F. (2016) Compensatory Stepping in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Accepted & In Press: Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2015.10.103. PMID: 26603657. EDITORS SELECTION, APRIL 2016

Peterson DS, King LA, Cohen RG, & Horak FB. (2016) Cognitive Contributions to Freezing of Gait in Parkinson Disease- Implications for Physical Rehabilitation. Physical Therapy Journal. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26381808

Peterson DS & Smulders K. (2015) Cues and attention in Parkinsonian gait: Potential mechanisms and future directions. Front. Neurol., 08 Dec 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2015.00255

Peterson DS, Fling B, Mancini M, Cohen RG, Nutt J, & Horak FB. (2015) Dual Task Interference and Pedunculopontine Nucleus Connectivity in people with Parkinson’s Disease who Experience Freezing. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry86:786-792. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2014-308840.

Dijkstra BW*, Horak F, Kamsma Y, & Peterson DS. (2015) The Effects of Age on Postural Motor Learning in Compensatory Stepping. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. Vol 7. ISSN: 1663-4365. DOI. 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00201

King LA, Peterson DS, Mancini M, Carlson-Kuhta P, Fling BW, Nutt J, Carter J, Winters-Stone KM, & Horak FB. (2015) Do cognitive measures and brain circuitry predict outcomes of exercise in Parkinson Disease: a randomized clinical trial. BMC Neurol. 2015 Oct 24;15(1):218. PubMed PMID: 26499867.

Peterson DS, Pickett KA, Perlmutter J, & Earhart GE. (2014) Gait Related Brain Activity in People with Parkinson Disease Who Experience Freezing of Gait. PLoS ONE; Mar;9(3):e90634.

Peterson DS, Pickett KA, Perlmutter J, & Earhart GE. (2013) Brain Activity during Complex Imagined Gait Tasks in Parkinson Disease. Clinical Neurophysiology. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2013.10.008.

Williams AJ, Peterson DS, Ionno M, & Earhart GE. (2013) Upper Extremity Freezing and Dyscoordination in Parkinson Disease: Effects of Amplitude and Cadence Manipulations. Parkinson Disease doi: 10.1155/2013/595378

Williams AJ, Peterson DS, & Earhart GE. (2013) Gait Coordination in Parkinson Disease: Effects of Step Length and Cadence Manipulations. Gait and Posture. Jun;38(2):340-4

Torry MR, Shelburne KB, Myers C, Giphart JE, Pennington W, Krong JP, Peterson DS, Steadman JR, & Woo SLY. (2013) High Knee Valgus in Female Subjects Does Not Yield Higher Anterior and Lateral Tibial Translations During Drop Landings: A Biplane Fluoroscopy Study. Journal of Orthopaedic Research Feb;31(2):257-67

Peterson DS, Plotnik M, Hausdorff J, & Earhart GM. (2012) Evidence for a relationship between bilateral coordination during complex gait tasks and freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders; 2012 Nov;18(9):1022-6. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2012.05.019.

Peterson DS, Pickett KA, & Earhart GM. (2012) Effects of Levodopa on Vividness of Motor Imagery in Parkinson Disease. Journal of Parkinson’s Disease; 2(2)127-133; doi: 10.3233/PJD-1012-12077

Pickett KA, Peterson DS, & Earhart GM. (2012) Motor imagery of gait tasks in individuals with Parkinson disease. Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, 2(1):19-22. doi: 10.3233/JPD-2012-11045

Torry MR, Shelburne KB, Peterson DS, Giphart JE, Krong JP, Myers C, Steadman JR, & Woo SLY. (2011) Knee Kinematic Profiles During Drop Landings: A Biplane Fluoroscopy Study, Medicine Science in Sports & Exercise. Mar;43(3):533-41. PMID: 20689456; doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181f1e491

Myers CA, Torry MR, Peterson DS, Shelburne KB, Giphart JE, Krong J, Woo SLY, & Steadman JR. (2011) Measurements of Tibiofemoral Kinematics During Soft and Stiff Drop Landings Using Biplane Fluoroscopy. American Journal of Sports Medicine Aug;39(8):1714-22. PMID: 21602566

Torry MR, Myers C, Shelburne, KB, Peterson DS, Giphart JE, Pennington WW, Krong JP, Woo SLY, & Steadman, JR. (2011) Relationship of Knee Shear Force and Quadriceps Extensor Moment on Knee Translations in Females Performing Drop Landings: A Biplane Fluoroscopy Study. Clinical Biomechanics (26);1019-1024; doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2011.06.010.

Peterson DS, Martin PE (2010) Effects of Age and Walking Speed on Coactivation and Cost of Walking in Healthy Adults. Gait and Posture. Mar; 31(3):355-9. PMID: 2010666

Research Activity


National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) Research Grant   (2017-2020)
Funding Source: NMSS
Title: Gaze and postural stability in persons with MS at risk for falls: Characterizing deficits and response to treatment
Purpose: The purpose of this RCT is to characterize the impact of task specific gaze and postural stability training on balance, dizziness, and vestibular function in people with MS.
Total Amount: $458,000
Role: Co-PI; with Dibble, L


National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) Pilot Award  (9/2016-9/2018)
Funding Source: NMSS
Title: Compensatory Stepping in People with Multiple Sclerosis
Purpose: Determine the degree to which people with multiple sclerosis can improve protective stepping over a short-term (1-day) practice period.
Amount (total): $39,640
Role: Co-PI; with Foreman, B

Career Development Award (CDA-1); (Award #I01BX007080)  (9/2014-10/2016)
Funding Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, RR&D
Title: “Effect of levodopa on postural motor learning in Parkinson disease”
Purpose: Understand the degree to which people with Parkinson’s disease can improve protective stepping responses after repeated external perturbations (i.e. simulated trips). In particular, we were interested in whether levodopa, a commonly used pharmacological intervention for Parkinson’s disease affected learning in this population.
Total Amount: $160,983
Role: PI



Early Clinical Investigator Award  (3/2014 - 2/2015)
Funding Source: Medical Research Foundation of Oregon.
Title: ““Postural motor learning in Parkinson's disease: Effects of levodopa”
Purpose: Characterize the performance and improvement of protective stepping between healthy young, healthy old, individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
Total Amount: $19,971
Role: PI