Richard Souza, PT, PhD

Professor, UCSF
Director of Research, UCSF Human Performance Center

Phone: (415) 514-8930
Email: [email protected]
Mailing: UCSF, Box 0946, San Francisco, CA 94143


  • BS, Exercise, University of California, Davis, CA, 1998
  • ATC, Athletic Training, University of California, Davis, CA, 1999
  • MPT, Physical Therapy, Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA, 2002
  • PhD, Biokinesiology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 2008
  • Postdoc, Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, CA, 2010



Dr. Richard Souza is a biomechanics researcher with joint appointments in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, and Orthopaedic Surgery. His areas of expertise include lower extremity biomechanics, medical imaging for orthopaedics, running overuse injuries, motion analysis, and osteoarthritis. Dr. Souza is also the Program Director for the PhD program in Rehabilitation Science, which will begin admitting students in 2016. Click here to watch a video with more information about Dr. Souza's lab.


  • PT 210 Radiology for the Physical Therapist
  • PT 199 Elective on Running Biomechanics


Dr. Souza is a physical therapist, receiving his MPT from Samuel Merritt University in 2001. He received his Ph.D. in Biokinesiology (major field: biomechanics) from the University of Southern California in 2008. His doctoral dissertation was titled “The Influence of Abnormal Hip Kinematics on Patellofemoral Joint Dysfunction.” This series of studies linked abnormal hip mechanics to patellofemoral pain in young active females using a combination of motion analysis and kinematic MRI. Dr. Souza then came to the USCF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging to complete a postdoc under the mentorship of Sharmila Majumdar, a renowned MR physicist and pioneer in quantitative imaging using MRI and CT. The Musculoskeletal Quantitative Imaging Research (MQIR) group is a leader in quantitative imaging of articular cartilage, and Dr. Souza recognized that this technology could be leveraged to better understand the influence of lower extremity biomechanics on cartilage degeneration. He received an NSBRI (NASA) postdoctoral fellowship to investigate the effects of unloading on cartilage composition using MR relaxation time mapping. This study identified subtle shift in cartilage compositions following non-weight-bearing that have important implications for astronauts and for patients following prolonged weight-bearing restrictions. More importantly, it demonstrated that the effects of changes in loading on cartilage could be quantified using these advanced MRI techniques.

In January 2010, Dr. Souza joined the faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. His research interests are focused on the relationships between mechanics of human movement and lower extremity injuries. Much of his research combines advanced quantitative MR imaging and the evaluation of physical activity and loading behaviors. The goal of these studies is to determine the influence of loading mechanics on hip, knee, and ankle health and to develop preventative and rehabilitative strategies for debilitating diseases such as osteoarthritis. These research projects are primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health.


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