Joanne Donoghue, Ph.D., has been involved in the development and supervision of the wellness program at NYITCOM for nearly 20 years. This program specializes in the rehabilitation of individuals with Parkinson’s disease and older adults. Donoghue’s expertise is in exercise physiology and nutrition, which has been the focus of her clinical research for the past 15 years. Her research spans many populations relating to exercise and health improvement, including both geriatric patients and young female athletes. Donoghue has served as a principal investigator on more than 10 clinical trials, including trials utilizing mobile technology to improve activity and body composition in medical students.

In 2012, Donoghue was awarded an Innovation Rapid Response Grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to observe the effects of tyrosine supplementation on autonomic dysfunction in Parkinson's disease. She presented her findings at the International Movement Disorder Society in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2018, Donoghue won an American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Research Grant for her work with overweight medical students, "A novel lifestyle intervention program to improve body composition and chronic disease biomarkers in overweight medical students: A randomized trial."

Donoghue’s knowledge of physiology and metabolic testing in healthy and diseased populations has allowed her to teach medical students as well as students of physical and occupational therapy, and her work has led to novel ways to improve quality of life for all ages.

Recent Projects & Research

  • Objective Assessment of Healthy Lifestyle Compliance with Public Health Guidelines in Collegiate eSport Athletes
  • Oxidative Stress and Hormone Biomarkers in Collegiate eSport Athletes
  • Physiological Changes that Occur after Prolonged eSport Play
  • Metabolic Differences in Middle Distance and Long Distance Recreational Female Runners
  • FIT-PHYSICIANS: A Novel Physical Activity Integration Program to Improve Fitness and Activity in Medical Students
  • Metabolic and Body Composition Changes in Parkinson’s Disease Subjects Compared to Non-Parkinson Disease Subjects

Selected Publications

  • DiFrancisco-Donoghue J, Balentine JR, "Collegiate eSport: Where Do We Fit In?" Curr Sports Med Rep. 2018 Apr;17(4):117-118. DOI: PMID: 29629969.
  • Douris, Peter, Joanne DiFrancisco-Donoghue, "Blood Flow Restriction Training on Functional Improvements in an Active Single Subject with Parkinson’s Disease." International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, in press January 2018.
  • Joanne DiFrancisco-Donoghue, Min-Kyung Jung, Adena Leder, "Nicotine gum as a therapeutic approach for low blood pressure in Parkinson’s disease: A randomized pilot study." Nicotine and Tobacco Research, published online Dec. 2017. DOI:
  • Southard V, Roumba S, Schwartz I, Sparacino N, Weddingfeld K, Donoghue J, "The Effects Of Whole Body Periodic Acceleration on Non-Motor Symptoms in Persons with Parkinson’s Disease: A Pilot Study." J Nov Physiother Phys Rehabil 4(3), 2017: 077-082. DOI:
  • Joanne DiFrancisco-Donoghue, Min-Kyung Jung, Theresa Apoznanski, William G. Werner, Sheldon Yao, "The Reliability of the Sensory Organization Test in Parkinson's Disease to Identify Fall Risk." International Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, Vol. 2, No. 5, 2016, pp. 39-43. DOI: 10.11648/j.ijnpt.20160205.11.
  • Joanne DiFrancisco-Donoghue, Theresa Apoznanski, Kristen de Vries, Min-Kyung Jung, Jayme Mancini, Sheldon Yao, "Osteopathic Manipulation as a Complementary Approach to Parkinson's Disease: A Controlled Pilot Study." NeuroRehabilitation. Oct. 31, 2016. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27814309.

Honors and Awards

  • American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Research Grant, 2018
    "A novel lifestyle intervention program to improve body composition and chronic disease biomarkers in overweight medical students: A randomized trial"
  • Michael J Fox Foundation Rapid Response Innovation Award, 2013
    "The effects of supplementing tyrosine on orthostatic hypotension in Parkinson’s disease"

Courses Taught at New York Tech

  • Biomarkers of Aging
  • Introduction to Exercise Physiology
  • Exercise and the Lower Back

Contact Info