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Dr. Graci aims to identify the mechanisms underlying injury to inform strategies and interventions to reduce injury and improve safety. She leverages her eclectic scientific background, spanning from experimental psychology to exercise science and biomechanics. Her research focuses on biomechanical risk factors for age-related falls, and injury mechanisms due to motor vehicle accidents.
Dr. Graci is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health System at Drexel University and at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP). She is also a member of the Neuromotor Performance Laboratory at the Center for Rehabilitation and of METACHOP (Math Engineering Technology at CHOP). She brings more than 10 years of experience in investigating human motion in a variety of biomechanics arenas, such as gait and posture, age-related falls, musculoskeletal and neuromotor disorder, to understand injury prevention in the automotive safety field.
Her research explores age-related differences in bracing behavior during pre-crash maneuvers, such as emergency braking and evasive swerving. Through funding from the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies, a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, Dr. Graci is also examining the role of the startle reflex in take-over reaction time in critical autonomous driving scenarios. Her current research interests within the field of automotive safety biomechanics also include the influence of automatic emergency braking pulses and novel seating configurations on occupant kinematics and muscle activity.
Dr. Graci is also investigating pediatric risk of falls in hospitalized children by examining the biomechanical characteristics of recorded falls at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She is currently collaborating with the CHOP's fall prevention team to understand how to improve widely used fall risk assessment tools in pediatric hospitals.
Among her accomplishments, Dr. Graci was nominated as a CHOP Emerging Innovator in March 2019 for her work, "A Startling Idea: Using the Startle Reflex to Quickly Take Control of an Autonomous Vehicle During Pre-crash Events."
Education and Training
BSc, University of Milano-Bicocca (Experimental Psychology)
MS, University of Milano-Bicocca (Experimental Psychology), 2006
PhD, University of Bradford (Biomechanics/Vision Science), 2010
Fellowship, Saint Louis University (Movement Science), 2011
Fellowship, University of Maryland (Neuromotor Rehabilitation), 2017
Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Injury Biomechanics), 2018
Titles and Academic Titles
Assistant Research Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health System at Drexel University