About Me

    I graduated from Lafayette College with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in May of 2005. From here, I took a job with Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey designing fuzes for mortar training rounds while pursuing my M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. I received my MS in January of 2008 and came to the conclusion that I would like to continue on toward my PhD. I completed my PhD in Mechanical Engineering in July of 2013 from Arizona State University. 

    I earned my Ph.D. at Arizona State University in the Biomechatronics Lab under the advisement of Dr. Veronica Santos. My research during this time focused on the characterization of the passive and active human hand reflexive response to unexpected rotational and translational perturbations while in a precision grip. My work involving the kinematic grip response to unexpected rotational perturbations of a grasped object involved adduction/abduction joints in addition to flexion/extension joints. This finding suggests that control of adduction and abduction joints should also be considered when developing grip response controllers for anthropomorphic artificial hands that include these degrees of freedom. This work lead to an investigation of the kinetic grip response to unexpected rotational perturbations and  showed that a characteristic unimodal catch-up response is also elicited in response to unexpected rotational perturbations that induce conditions other than linear slip. Not only did the catch-up response exist rotationally, but also the timing was consistent across all subjects. Further, it was found that the strength of the catch-up response scaled with the axis of rotation. Finally, a comparison of rotational and translational response to unexpected perturbations was conducted. It was found that the temporal characteristics of the catch-up response (onset latency, duration) were essentially robust to all experimental factors, including grip surface friction. The strength of the catch-up response was sometimes context-dependent. The strength of the catch-up response was only affected by the axis of perturbation for translational perturbations. Additionally, grip surface friction had no effect on catch-up response characteristics or preload normal and tangential forces.

    After graduation, I was employed as an Assistant Research Technologist at Arizona State University. During this time, I began a study (still on-going) that stemmed directly from my Ph.D. work and investigates the three dimensional translational and rotational stiffness of the human hand in precision grasp.  An understanding of translational and rotational stiffness of the precision grip-object system could provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of grasps implemented by anthropomorphic artificial hands.

    Presently, I am working as a Postdoctoral Research Engineer at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in the Orthopedic Surgery Department under Dr. Kerry Danelson. My postdoctoral work has allowed me to gain knowledge about real world, clinical practices and includes investigations of 1) common injury modes due to underblast (an IED exploding under a car);  2) the distribution of forces in the pelvis seen during a Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA); 3) the postural differences between children with and without adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) during activities of daily living (ADLs) using a DorsaVi wearable ViMove system; 4) the maximum lengthening achievable and the stress and strain of soft tissue during a metaphyseal and diaphyseal osteotomy; 5) the differences in compression across a fracture in the humerus between a lag and a standard screw technique at different screw angles; 6) The use of biofeedback as an augmentation to treatment for low back pain; and 7) the difference in force distribution due to differing suturing techniques during a rotator cuff tendon tear repair.

  • Designed and conducted experiments to characterize human hand grip responses to rotational perturbations.
  • Created a novel, robotics-based experimental set-up that involved the coordinated control of two Sensable Phantom haptic robots, a Polhemus Fastrak magnetic position and orientation sensor, surface electromyography, ATI Nano-17 load cells, and Vicon motion capture.
  • Proficient in coordinate frame transformations, analysis of dynamic human-in-the-loop data
  • Proficient in MATLAB and C++ programming.
  • Worked in teams and trained fellow students on equipment use and data collection and processing techniques.
  • Programming: C++, MATLAB/Simulink
  • Engineering Software
    • Proficient in Pro Engineer, AutoDesk Inventor, Solid Works and Vicon Nexus.
    • Experience with Visual Basic and ANSYS
  • Equipment: dorsaVi BiMove Sensor package, Vicon Motion capture system, Ascension Flock of Birds, Polhemus Fastrak, Surface Electromyography, 6DOF load cells, and SensAble Phantom haptic robots, DorsaVi ViMove sensor package, Tekscan sensing system, CubePro Duo 3D printer.
  • Application Software: Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Language: Fluent in Italian
Research Interests: clinical biomechanics, human movement, sports biomechanics, hand biomechanics, neural control of movement, multi-digit coordination, muscle synergies, grasp and manipulation

Awards and Honors:
  • January 2013            Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Fellowship
  • May 2012                 Ferdinand A. Stanchi Fellowship
  • July 2011                  Ford Graduate Engineering Fellowship
  • June 2009                Naval Research Laboratories Travel Support