As Associate Dean for Research Dr. LaRoche aims to support faculty in the development of their scholarship, external funding, and professional identities as they navigate the competing demands of research, teaching, service and engagement. He has a passion for Exercise Science that stems from his love of physiology, biomechanics and optimizing human performance. He is intrigued by how the exercise stimulus can confer health and functional benefits to everyone from elite athletes to older adults and has extensively studied both ends of the human performance spectrum. His current research is focused on technology for aging in place and the free-living monitoring of gait quality, physical function, fall risk and vitality of older adults. Dr. LaRoche is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, is a Past-President of the New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, is a member of the Gait & Posture journal editorial board, regularly publishes his research in high-impact journals, and received the College of Health and Human Services Teaching Excellence Award in 2012 and a Mather Institute Innovative Research on Aging Award in 2022. Dr. LaRoche's research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Dr. LaRoche's Research Aims to:
• Understand the interplay of neuromuscular, metabolic, and biomechanical function in the limitation of mobility of older adults
• Evaluate neuromuscular responses to exercise, strength and power asymmetry, and passive-elastic muscle-tendon unit properties
• Develop technology for tracking physical activity and movement quality, exercise program delivery, and assistance for independent living

Courses Taught

  • EXSC 620: Physiology of Exercise
  • EXSC 693: Teaching Assistantship
  • EXSC/KIN 705/805: Topics in Applied Physiology
  • EXSC/KIN 722/822: Applied Biomechanics
  • KIN 696: Independent Study
  • KIN 696W: Independent Study
  • KIN 896: Adv Research Exercise Science


  • Ph.D., Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah
  • M.S., Exercise Science, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • B.S., Kinesiology: Exercise Science, University of New Hampshire

Research Interests

  • Aging in Place
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise
  • Geriatrics
  • Mobility in Aging
  • Muscle Structure/Function
  • Obesity
  • Assistive Technology (Disabled)

Selected Publications

  • Rauseo, M. L., Feairheller, D. L., LaRoche, D. P., & Cook, S. B. (2024). Acute Effect of Dynamic and Gluteal Resistance Exercise Warm-up Protocols on Jump Landing Mechanics in College-Aged Females.. J Strength Cond Res, 38(2), 259-265. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000004618

  • Ansah, S., Olugbon, F., Arthanat, S., LaRoche, D., & Chen, D. (2023). Smart Insole Based Shuffling Detection System for Improved Gait Analysis in Parkinson’s Disease. In 2023 IEEE 19th International Conference on Body Sensor Networks (BSN). IEEE. doi:10.1109/bsn58485.2023.10331076

  • Arthanat, S., Wilcox, J., & LaRoche, D. (2022). Smart home automation technology to support caring of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia: an early intervention framework. DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION-ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY. doi:10.1080/17483107.2022.2125088

  • Gesel, F. J., Morenz, E. K., Cleary, C. J., & LaRoche, D. P. (2022). Acute Effects of Static and Ballistic Stretching on Muscle-Tendon Unit Stiffness, Work Absorption, Strength, Power, and Vertical Jump Performance. JOURNAL OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING RESEARCH, 36(8), 2147-2155. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003894

  • Song, Y., Begum, M., Arthanat, S., & LaRoche, D. P. (2022). Validation of Smartphone Accelerometry for the Evaluation of Sit-To-Stand Performance and Lower-Extremity Function in Older Adults. JOURNAL OF AGING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, 30(1), 3-11. doi:10.1123/japa.2020-0428

  • Gesel, P., LaRoche, D., Arthanat, S., Begum, M., & IEEE. (2021). Learning to Optimize Control Policies and Evaluate Reproduction Performance from Human Demonstrations. In 2021 IEEE/RSJ INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTELLIGENT ROBOTS AND SYSTEMS (IROS) (pp. 7800-7806). doi:10.1109/IROS51168.2021.9636454

  • McGrath, R., Tomkinson, G. R., LaRoche, D. P., Vincent, B. M., Bond, C. W., & Hackney, K. J. (2020). Handgrip Strength Asymmetry and Weakness May Accelerate Time to Mortality in Aging Americans. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION, 21(12), 2003-+. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2020.04.030

  • Gesel, P., Mikulis-Borsoi, F., LaRoche, D., Arthanat, S., & Begum, M. (2020). Learning Optimized Human Motion via Phase Space Analysis. In 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). IEEE. doi:10.1109/iros45743.2020.9340773

  • Arthanat, S., Begum, M., Gu, T., LaRoche, D. P., Xu, D., & Zhang, N. (2020). Caregiver perspectives on a smart home-based socially assistive robot for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION-ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, 15(7), 789-798. doi:10.1080/17483107.2020.1753831

  • Bode, V. G., Croce, R. V., Quinn, T. J., & Laroche, D. P. (2020). Influence of excess weight on lower-extremity vertical stiffness and metabolic cost of walking. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SPORT SCIENCE, 20(4), 477-485. doi:10.1080/17461391.2019.1652350

  • Spinoso, D. H., Marques, N. R., LaRoche, D. P., Hallal, C. Z., Karuka, A. H., Milanezi, F. C., & Goncalves, M. (2019). Hip, Knee, and Ankle Functional Demand During Habitual and Fast-Pace Walking in Younger and Older Women. JOURNAL OF AGING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, 27(2), 242-251. doi:10.1123/japa.2017-0351

  • Gesel, P., Begum, M., La Roche, D., & IEEE. (2019). Learning Motion Trajectories from Phase Space Analysis of the Demonstration. In 2019 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION (ICRA) (pp. 7055-7061). Retrieved from

  • LaRoche, D. P., Melanson, E. L., Baumgartner, M. P., Bozzuto, B. M., Libby, V. M., & Marshall, B. N. (2018). Physiological determinants of walking effort in older adults: should they be targets for physical activity intervention?. GEROSCIENCE, 40(3), 305-315. doi:10.1007/s11357-018-0032-0

  • LaRoche, D. P., Villa, M. R., Bond, C. W., & Cook, S. B. (2017). Knee extensor power asymmetry is unrelated to functional mobility of older adults. EXPERIMENTAL GERONTOLOGY, 98, 54-61. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2017.08.008

  • Bond, C. W., Cook, S. B., Swartz, E. E., & LaRoche, D. P. (2017). ASYMMETRY OF LOWER EXTREMITY FORCE AND MUSCLE ACTIVATION DURING KNEE EXTENSION AND FUNCTIONAL TASKS. MUSCLE & NERVE, 56(3), 495-504. doi:10.1002/mus.25506

  • LaRoche, D. P. (2017). Plantarflexor passive-elastic properties related to SMI and walking performance in older women. GAIT & POSTURE, 53, 55-60. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.01.007

  • LaRoche, D. P., Marques, N. R., Cook, S. B., Masley, E. A., & Morcelli, M. H. (2016). Augmenting strength-to-weight ratio by body weight unloading affects walking performance equally in obese and nonobese older adults. AGE, 38(1). doi:10.1007/s11357-016-9881-6

  • LaRoche, D. P., Marques, N. R., Shumila, H. N., Logan, C. R., St Laurent, R., & Goncalves, M. (2015). Excess Body Weight and Gait Influence Energy Cost of Walking in Older Adults. MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, 47(5), 1017-1025. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000501

  • LaRoche, D. P., Greenleaf, B. L., Croce, R. V., & McGaughy, J. A. (2014). Interaction of age, cognitive function, and gait performance in 50-80-year-olds. AGE, 36(4). doi:10.1007/s11357-014-9693-5

  • Crystal, N. J., Townson, D. H., Cook, S. B., & LaRoche, D. P. (2013). Effect of cryotherapy on muscle recovery and inflammation following a bout of damaging exercise. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSIOLOGY, 113(10), 2577-2586. doi:10.1007/s00421-013-2693-9

  • LaRoche, D. P., Cook, S. B., & Mackala, K. (2012). Strength Asymmetry Increases Gait Asymmetry and Variability in Older Women. MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, 44(11), 2172-2181. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31825e1d31

  • LaRoche, D. P., Kralian, R. J., & Millett, E. D. (2011). Fat mass limits lower-extremity relative strength and maximal walking performance in older women. JOURNAL OF ELECTROMYOGRAPHY AND KINESIOLOGY, 21(5), 754-761. doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2011.07.006

  • LaRoche, D. P., Millett, E. D., & Kralian, R. J. (2011). Low strength is related to diminished ground reaction forces and walking performance in older women. GAIT & POSTURE, 33(4), 668-672. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2011.02.022

  • LaRoche, D. P., Cremin, K. A., Greenleaf, B., & Croce, R. V. (2010). Rapid torque development in older female fallers and nonfallers: A comparison across lower-extremity muscles. JOURNAL OF ELECTROMYOGRAPHY AND KINESIOLOGY, 20(3), 482-488. doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2009.08.004

  • Laroche, D. P., Roy, S. J., Knight, C. A., & Dickie, J. L. (2008). Elderly women have blunted response to resistance training despite reduced antagonist coactivation. MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, 40(9), 1660-1668. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181761561

  • LaRoche, D. P., Lussier, M. V., & Roy, S. J. (2008). CHRONIC STRETCHING AND VOLUNTARY MUSCLE FORCE. JOURNAL OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING RESEARCH, 22(2), 589-596. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181636aef

  • Laroche, D. P., Knight, C. A., Dickie, J. L., Lussier, M., & Roy, S. J. (2007). Explosive force and fractionated reaction time in elderly low- and high-active women. MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, 39(9), 1659-1665. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e318074ccd9

  • LaRoche, D. P., & Connolly, D. A. J. (2006). Effects of stretching on passive muscle tension and response to eccentric exercise. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE, 34(6), 1000-1007. doi:10.1177/0363546505284238