Dr. Hopkins joined the AU faculty in 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Biology and has taught undergraduate courses in human biology as well as anatomy and physiology. Dr. Hopkins has also served as the in-house anatomist for AU’s cadaver lab. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Clemson University in 2009 and his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Emory University in 2013. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Applied Health Research and Evaluation from the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University. Dr. Hopkins’ research interests include determinants of health behavior and their relationship to health, wellness, and rehabilitation as well as the epidemiology and prevention of injury among athletes and the physically active. He is married to Dr. Casey Hopkins (faculty member in the School of Nursing) and resides in Anderson, SC with their 3 young children (a daughter and twin sons).
Dr. Jacobs was hired in January 2017 to develop the clinical education component of the new DPT program. Dr. Jacobs is a 2009 graduate from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and was the first to complete MUSC’s post-professional residency program in neurology. Dr. Jacobs is a board-certified specialist in Neurological Physical Therapy (NCS) and an APTA-certified clinical instructor. In addition, she holds certifications in specialized rehabilitation techniques for patients with brain injury, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Jacobs is currently earning her PhD in Educational Leadership at Clemson University. Her research interests include novel therapy approaches for the treatment of neurological dysfunction and the influence of thinking and personality styles on the clinical performance of PT students. Dr. Jacobs’ home is in Greenville, SC.
Dr. Curt Kindel joined the School of Physical Therapy faculty in August 2018 after holding an academic appointment for 11 years at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. His previous teaching experience included courses in functional anatomy, biomechanics, therapeutic exercise, and musculoskeletal patient management. Dr. Kindel is also a graduate of Saint Francis University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Health Science (1999) and entry-level Master of Physical Therapy degree (2001). He was certified as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) in 2007 and re-certified in 2017. In 2015, Dr. Kindel earned his PhD in Biomechanics from Penn State University. His research focuses on investigations of joint and muscle mechanics and their influence on rehabilitation; Dr. Kindel has multiple peer-reviewed publications and presentations related to these topics. He is married to Dr. Heather Kindel, who is also a member of the AU’s SoPT faculty. They live in Easley, SC with their two daughters.
Dr. Heather Kindel joined the School of Physical Therapy faculty in August of 2018 after serving as a faculty member and assistant DCE at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Science in 1999 and her master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 2001, both from Saint Francis. More recently (2018), Dr. Kindel completed her PhD in Instructional Management and Leadership from Robert Morris University. Her clinical expertise in women’s health includes a special interest in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence among female athletes. Dr. Kindel is also a certified True Colors® facilitator and enjoys helping people communicate more effectively with one another. She has been involved in physical therapy education for the past 15 years and has developed research interests in the use of mindfulness to manage student stress. She makes her home in Easley, SC along with her husband, Dr. Curt Kindel and daughters, Jessa and Maura.
Dr. Watson joined the School of Physical Therapy faculty in August 2018 following 22 years of clinical experience in orthopedic physical therapy in a variety of settings including level I trauma centers, hospital-based outpatient centers, and private practice. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Slippery Rock University (1985), a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Duke University (1988), and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Drexel University (2006). Dr. Watson is a board certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy practice. Her scholarly interests primarily relate to bone health and physical therapy screening with quantitative ultrasound, questionnaires and balance tests to prevent fractures. Dr. Watson is also coordinating the Senior Partners In Clinical Education (SPICE) program and is studying the impact of that program on preparing Doctor of Physical Therapy students for successful clinical practice. She has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, taught continuing education for physical therapists, spoken at national professional meetings, and received grant funding for her clinical research. She makes her home in Greenville, SC along with her daughters Katie and Amy.
Dr. de Ruig joined the School of Physical Therapy as a full-time faculty member in May 2019. Dr. de Ruig graduated with his doctorate in physical therapy from Duke University in 2005. Over the past 14 years, he has predominately worked in outpatient clinical settings with a practice focus on orthopedics, industrial rehabilitation, and treating myofascial pain conditions. More recently in 2015, he became certified in myofascial trigger point therapy. Dr. de Ruig brings his experience as a multi-site clinical manager and his passion for manual therapy techniques to bear while teaching students how to manage musculoskeletal dysfunctions as well as practice management concepts and marketing. His previous teaching experience has been focused on providing clinical education opportunities to physical therapy students and also continuing education content to practicing physical therapists. His research interests include the use of diagnostic ultrasound, quantitative ultrasound, and manual therapy techniques. Currently, Dr. de Ruig is mid-way through earning his doctorate degree in health sciences from Nova Southeastern University. Finally, Dr. de Ruig enjoys living close to the mountains in Travelers Rest, SC with his wife, two young sons, and a puppy.
Elizabeth joined the School of Physical Therapy staff in September 2019 after 26 years in an administrative professional role with extensive experience in retail operations.
She graduated from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in 1982 earning her certificate with special honors in Secretarial Science.
Elizabeth is married to her husband Doug and resides in Pendleton, SC. She has a son and daughter and two granddaughters.
In her spare time she enjoys being outdoors camping and hiking.
Miranda joined the Physical Therapy staff in July 2019. Miranda earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Clemson University in 2015 and a masters of education from Anderson University in 2018. After four years teaching in the classroom, she moved to higher education where she continues her passion of helping students reach success.
Miranda resides in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and Labrador retriever.
Dr. Denninger joined the SoPT faculty in the fall of 2019. As a certified pediatric specialist (PCS), she teaches the pediatric content of the curriculum; she is responsible for coordinating the part- time and pro bono clinical experiences. Dr. Denninger holds an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science and a DPT degree from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. She is currently working on another doctorate in higher education from North Greenville University. In addition to her PCS, Dr. Denninger is a certified clinical instructor, strength and conditioning specialist, and child passenger safety technician. She has held adjunct teaching positions in two other DPT programs and has nine years of full-time or part-time clinical experience at multiple children’s hospitals. Dr. Denninger is raising two young children with her husband, Tom, who is also a PT in the Greenville area. Both of them have a special interest in studying the clinical reasoning process as it relates to physical therapy practice.
Several other health care professionals will provide instructional support by providing guest lectures and lab instruction, supervising students during their clinical practicums, and assisting with scholarly projects. These individuals will include PT clinical specialists, nurses and nurse practitioners, physicians, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, orthotists, prosthetists, pharmacists, exercise physiologists, and others.