John Handrakis, P.T., D.P.T., Ed.D., a board-certified clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy (NCS), is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Professions, New York Institute of Technology. He specializes in teaching neurological rehabilitation, modalities, and differential diagnosis for physical therapy to DPT students. In addition to teaching, Handrakis heads the Thermoregulation Research Program at the Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development National Center for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center, where he mentors his D.P.T. students in their research projects.

Dr. Handrakis' research focuses on the regulation of core body temperature after spinal cord injury (SCI). The goals of his team's research are to identify the physiological and clinical consequences of dysfunctional thermoregulation after SCI, their impact on quality of life (QOL), and to develop interventions to improve clinical care, health, and QOL in persons with SCI.

Dr. Handrakis received his BS from Fordham University in 1978 and a post-baccalaureate Certificate degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University in 1981. He then provided physical therapy at Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation, NYU Langone Medical Center in the rehabilitation, outpatient, acute care, and cardiopulmonary units. During his time at NYU, he worked towards his MS degree in Exercise Physiology at Long Island University, which was awarded in 1985. After NYU, Dr. Handrakis continued to provide orthopedic and neurological physical therapy care in outpatient and homecare settings. In 2005 he joined the faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy at New York Tech. During this time, Dr. Handrakis worked towards his EdD in Applied Physiology at Teachers College, Columbia University, which was awarded in 2008 and a DPT in Physical Therapy from New York Tech in 2010. He was certified as a Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) in 2016 by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. He has extensive experience providing physical therapy to persons with neurological, orthopedic, and sports medicine injuries.

Some Recent Projects/Research

  • Powered Orthotic Exoskeleton Training in Stroke, Clinical Trials Identifier: NCT04241848
  • Heated Vest for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury, Clinical Trials Identifier: NCT 03662308
  • Postprandial Thermogenesis in Persons with SCI
  • Effect of Heat Exposure on Cognition in Persons With Tetraplegia, Clinical Trials Identifier: NCT02488824
  • Thermoregulation and Cognition During Cool Ambient Exposure in Tetraplegia, Clinical Trials Identifier: NCT02379156
  • Thermal Comfort and Its Effects on Routine Daily Activities in Persons with SCI
  • Thermal Comfort and Its Effects on Routine Daily Activities in Persons with SCI during Seasonal Hot Temperatures


  • Wecht JM, Krassioukov AV, Alexander M, Handrakis JP, McKenna SL, Kennelly M, Trbovich M, Biering-Sorensen F, Burns S, Elliott SL, Graves D, Hamer J, Krogh K, Linsenmeyer TA, Liu N, Hagen EM, Phillips AA, Previnaire JG, Rodriguez GM, Slocum C, Wilson JR. International Standards to document Autonomic Function following SCI (ISAFSCI): Second Edition. Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2021 Spring;27(2):23-49.
  • Kumar NS, Bart J, Barton C, Graham ML, Leung PP, Tittley TD, Lee I, Bang C, Bauman WA, Handrakis JP. Core Temperature Lability Predicts the Degree of Sympathetic Interruption and Cognitive Performance during Heat Exposure in Persons with Higher Spinal Cord Injuries. J Neurotrauma. 2021 Apr 21. Epub ahead of print.
  • Savitzky JA, Abrams L, Galluzzo N, Ostrow S, Protosow T, Liu SA. Handrakis JP, Friel K. “The Effects of a Novel Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation Device on Shoulder Strength and Function.” J Strength Cond Res. 2019;
  • Trbovich MB, Handrakis JP, Kumar NS, Price MJ. "Impact of passive heat stress on persons with spinal cord injury: Implications for Olympic spectators." Temperature. 2019:1-15.
  • Pekmezaris R, Kozikowski A, Pascarelli B, Handrakis JP, Chory A, Griffin D, Bloom O. "Participant-Reported Priorities and Preferences for Developing a Home-Based Physical Activity Telemonitoring Program for Persons with Tetraplegia: A Qualitative Analysis." Spinal Cord Series and Cases. April 2019, 5:48. Doi:
  • Handrakis JP, Trbovich M, Hagen EM, Price M. "Thermodysregulation in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury: Case Series on Use of the Autonomic Standards." Spinal Cord Series and Cases, 2017 Dec; 3, Article number: 17086. DOI: 10.1038/s41394-017-0026-7
  • Handrakis JP, Guan ZN, Nulty JW, Tascione O, Rosado-Rivera D, White D, Bang C, Spungen A, Bauman WA. "Effect of Heat Exposure on Cognition in Persons with Tetraplegia." J Neurotrauma; 2017 Dec; 34 (24), 3372-3380.
  • Handrakis JP, Rosado-Rivera D, Singh K, Swonger K, Azarelo F, Lombard AT, Spungen AM, Kirshblum SC, Bauman WA. "Self-Reported Effects of Cold Temperature Exposure in Persons with Tetraplegia." J Spinal Cord Med Mar 2017; 40, 389-395.
  • Jill M. Wecht, EdD,Michael F. La Fountaine, EdD, ATC, John P. Handrakis, PT, DPT, EdD, Christopher R. West, PhD, Aaron Phillips, PhD, David S. Ditor, PhD, Hisham Sharif, PhD, William A. Bauman, MD, Andrei V. Krassioukov, MD, PhD. "Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction Following Spinal Cord Injury: Cardiovascular, Cerebrovascular and Thermoregulatory Effects." J Current Reports in Rehab Med; 2015 3(3):197-205
  • Handrakis JP, Liu SA, Rosado-Rivera D, Krajewski M, Spungen AM, Bang C, Swonger K, Bauman WA. "Effect of Mild Cold Exposure on Cognition in Persons with Tetraplegia." J Neurotrauma; 2015 Aug 1;32(15):1168-75.
  • Handrakis JP, Friel K, Hoeffner F, Akinkunle O, Genova V, Isakov E, Matthew J, Vitulli F. "Key Characteristics of Low Back Pain and Disability in College-Aged Adults: a Pilot Study." Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2012;93(7):1217-24.
  • Rosado-Rivera D, Radulovic M, Handrakis JP, Cirnigliaro CM, Jensen AM, Kirshblum SC, Bauman WA and Wecht JM. "Comparison of 24-hour cardiovascular and autonomic function in paraplegia, tetraplegia, and control groups: implications for cardiovascular risk." J Spinal Cord Med 2011;34(4):395-403.
  • Handrakis JP, DeMeersman RE, Rosado-Rivera D, LaFountaine MF, Spungen AM, Bauman WA, and Wecht JM. "Effect of hypotensive challenge on systemic hemodynamics and cerebral blood flow in persons with tetraplegia." Clin Auton Res. 2009;19(1):39-45.
  • Handrakis JP, Southard VN, Abreu JM, Aloisa M, Doyen MR, Echevarria LM, Hwang H, Samuels C, Venegas SA, and Douris PC. "Static Stretching Does Not Impair Performance in Active Middle-Aged Adults." J Strength Cond Res. 2009;24(3):825-30.

See all publications


  • American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS): Board certified neurologic clinical specialist (N.C.S.) in neurologic physical therapy, effective July 1, 2016

Honors and Awards

  • Awarded “2nd Place” in the poster competition at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 26-29, 2017.
  • Awarded “Best Original Research Poster” at the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals national conference in Nashville, Tennessee, September 4-7, 2016.
  • Recognized with the Outstanding Scholarship Award from NYIT School of Health Professions in September 2012.
  • Recognized with the Award for Outstanding Teaching for academic year 2008–2009 from NYIT School of Health Professions in September 2009.
  • Awarded the ESPRIT Award, in October 2005, by the VNSNY, for outstanding service and a commitment to excellence in patient care, initiative, teamwork, and fiscal responsibility.

Courses Taught at New York Tech

  • PHTH-650 Neurological Rehabilitation
  • PHTH-615 Modalities
  • PHTH-685 Differential Diagnosis for Physical Therapy

See all PHTH courses

Contact Info