Petra Williams, MS, NCS

Petra Williams Assistant Professor
Northern Arizona University
Physical Therapy, Flagstaff Campus
Phone: 928-523-7434

Professional Interests

Dr. Williams is a neurorehabilitation physical therapist in clinical practice since 1994 working with adults after brain injury and spinal cord injury.  Her research interest focuses on movement training/re-training that enhance human performance and functional change and the task specificity of neural adaptations associated with different therapeutic exercise approaches.  Dr. Williams is passionate about teaching and using evidence-based strategies to enhance student success and learning in the classroom and clinic. Dr. Williams has been a full-time physical therapy educator since 2005 and joined the NAU faculty in 2013.  When not at NAU, Dr. Williams is a Level III classifier for the United States Quadriplegic Rugby Association and also enjoys long-distance backpacking with her husband Eric in Grand Canyon and along the Appalachian Trail.

Doctor of Philosophy, Biological Sciences, Comparative and Exercise Physiology Program with an emphasis in Neuromuscular Physiology, Ohio University, 2013
Master of Science, Neurological Rehabilitation, The Ohio State University, 2002
Certificate in Physical Therapy, The Ohio State University, 1994
Bachelor of Arts, History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University, 1991
Teaching Area/ Courses Taught

PT550 Pathophysiology
PT560 Neurosciences
PT511/PT611 Observational Movement Analysis
PT601 Integrated Clinical Education
PT635 Neurophysiologic Therapeutics I
PT636 Neurophysiologic Therapeutics 2
Recent Publications
  • Williams PS, Hoffman RL, Clark BC. Cortical and spinal mechanisms of task failure of sustained submaximal fatiguing contractions. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 25;9(3):e93284. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093284.
  • Williams PS, Hoffman RL, Clark BC. Preliminary evidence that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation enhances time to task failure of a sustained submaximal contraction. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 9;8(12):e81418. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081418.
  • Clark BC, Manini TM, Kushnick MR, Williams PS, Hoffman RL. Blood flow restricted resistance exercise training with low-mechanical loads: A novel rehabilitation strategy to promote muscle growth and strength.  Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 2011; 21(5):653-62.
  • Williams PS, Clark BC. Electromyography in the 21st century: from voluntary signals to motor evoked potentials.  IN: Biomechanics Principles, Trends, and Applications. Ed. Levy JH. Nova Science 2009.
  • Williams PS, Basso DM, Case-Smith J, Nichols-Larsen DS. Development of the Hand Active Sensation Test: Reliability and Validity. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2006;87:1471-1.