Bertocci 2ndGina Bertocci, PhD, PE; Director, Injury Risk Assessment and Prevention Lab. Dr. Bertocci is a Professor in Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering and Pediatrics, and is the Endowed Chair of Biomechanics. Dr. Bertocci's academic training is in Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. She completed her PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.  Her research has focused on injury biomechanics and rehabilitation biomechanics. Dr. Bertocci's injury biomechanics research has been in the fields of child abuse and wheelchair transportation safety.  Before joining the University of Louisville, Dr. Bertocci was the Director of the RERC (Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center) on Wheelchair Transportation Safety at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Bertocci continues to be involved in wheelchair transportation research focusing on injury risk associated with wheelchair transport, public transportation accessibility, and describing wheelchair-related activities in public transportation.  She is also a member of the ANSI/RESNA Committee on Wheelchairs and Transportation, and a designated expert for ISO Wheelchair Transportation Working Group. Dr. Bertocci's research in the area of child abuse has focused on determining the compatibility between injuries and stated causes using biomechanical principles and techniques. This work has utilized test dummies and computer simulation to investigate injury risk associated with common household falls that may be used as falsely stated scenarios in child abuse cases. Dr. Bertocci also conducts research in the area of canine biomechanics, working towards gaining an understanding of factors that influence cruciate ligament rupture.  See Dr. Bertocci's full CV.


Phone: (502) 852-0296


PierceMary Clyde Pierce, MD; Medical Director, Injury Risk Assessment and Prevention Lab. Dr. Pierce is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine. Dr. Pierce's subspecialty training is in Pediatric Emergency Medicine with additional training in the area of child abuse. She received her medical degree from Louisiana State University of New Orleans in 1989, her specialty training in Pediatrics from Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1992, and her subspecialty training in Pediatric Emergency Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh, Children's Hospital, in 1994. Her research has focused primarily on injuries in children with an emphasis on differentiating abusive from accidental trauma. Before joining the University of Louisville, Dr. Pierce was the Division Chief of the Child Abuse Assessment Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh in addition to a clinical appointment in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Her current position is the director of Research for the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine where she has clinical, teaching, and research responsibilities. Dr. Pierce is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the Society for Pediatric Research. Dr. Pierce began her collaboration with Dr. Bertocci in 1997 which combines the expertise of medicine and engineering and utilizes both a clinical and experimental approach. Her research focus is the development of injury plausibility models for differentiating abusive and accidental trauma in the young child. This collaborative work results in research that is guided by case-based studies with experiments and modeling directly linked to pertinent clinical issues. See Dr. Pierce's full CV.


Phone: (773) 880-8124


FrostKaren Frost, PhD, MBA is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering.  Dr. Frost's academic training is in Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology.  She completed her PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004.  Dr. Frost completed a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic rehabilitation outcomes at the University of Louisville in 2005, and a senior postdoctoral fellowship in wheelchair transportation safety at the University of Louisville in 2009.  Dr. Frost's research has focused on two primary areas: assistive technology as it relates to wheelchair transportation safety, and rehabilitation outcomes following total hip and total knee arthroplasty.  She is currently investigating difficulties and incidents related to lift usage and wheelchair securement involving wheelchair-seated passengers on paratransit vehicles, and difficulties and incidents related to ramp usage involving wheelchait-seated passengers traveling on public transit buses. These efforts will lead to an improved understanding of factors influencing wheelchair passenger boarding and alighting incidents, and the development of wheelchair lift and ramp design guidelines and operational recommended best practices.  She is also a member of the ANSI/RESNA Committee on Wheelchairs and Transportation, and has provided expert witness services for legal cases involving wheelchair transportation safety on public transit vehicles.  Dr. Frost has also investigated rehabilitation outcomes following total hip arthroplasty and total knee arthroplasty.  These efforts have focused on isokinetic and isometric strength measurements, as well as functional performance outcomes and development of a motivational exercise counseling intervention to promote therapeutic exercise following completion of outpatient physical therapy.  Dr. Frost is currently collaborating with Dr. Bertocci on development of a patient-centric technology for measuring pain and activities of daily living for arthritis and orthopedic patients.  She is also an active collaborator with Dr. Bertocci in the development of pressure ulcer prevention technologies for use in the veterinary field.  Dr. Frost has also completed two Phase I SBIR (small business, innovative research) grants focused on wheelchair-related assistive technology. See Dr. Frost's full CV.


Phone: (502) 852-0279


BuningMary Ellen Buning, PhD, OTR, ATP, is an occupational therapist who has been practicing in the area of assistive technology for 25 years. She has an active leadership role within RESNA as the chair of all the professional service groups. She is credentialed as an Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) and is active in the American Occupational Therapy Association and it's Technology Special Interest Section. Dr. Buning earned her PhD in Rehabilition Science from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh under the mentorship of Douglas Hobson, PhD, PE. She has a strong interest in information technology and during her doctoral work developed WheelchairNet, a widely-visited, virtual community on the topic of seating and wheeled mobility. She investigated the use of WheelchairNet as a support for decision-making when consumers are preparing for new wheelchairs. She is an experienced educator and presenter and has a strong commitment to the use of the Internet and telecommunications to improve practice, conduct survey research, and disseminate research findings. Following 3 years on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Buning transitioned to the University of Colorado Denver where she taught, conducted research and provided direct service to individuals with disabilities. She recently accepted a faculty position at U of L and is developing an Assistive Technology program at Frazier Rehab Institute. She will be developing the clinical side of a certificate in Rehab Engineering within the Speed School of Engineering and supporting the translational research goals of the Frazier Spinal Cord Medicine and the Neuroscience Collaborative Center from within the Department of Neurological Surgery. She continues her commitment to Wheelchair Transportation Safety through her continued involvement and research in a Rehabilitation Research Center focused on this topic. She is just beginning a project to investigate the impact of the WC19 wheelchair transportation standard on safety in school buses for students who ride to school seated in wheelchairs. See Dr. Buning's full CV.


Phone: (502) 407-3272

 KnightAngela Knight Thompson, PhD., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Louisville. She began her work in the iRAP lab in 2005 and recently received her PhD in May 2011.  Her work has primarily focused on investigating injury risk associated with short distance falls in children.  The aim of this research is to aid physicians in distinguishing between abusive and accidental injuries in children.  She is currently working on a project to better understand the mechanism or cause of a fracture type that is highly suggestive of abuse in infants - classic metaphyseal lesions (or CML fractures). See Dr. Thompson's full CV.



Phone: (502) 852-0279

Post-Doctoral Fellows

BrownNathan Brown, PhD, is a Post-Doctoral Associate in Bioengineering at the University of Louisville. He has worked in the iRAP lab since 2007 and received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in December 2012. His PhD dissertation was titled "Development of a canine stifle computer model to evaluate cranial cruciate ligament deficiency and surgical management," and his primary research focus involves development and use of a 3D computer model of the canine hind limb to investigate the loadings within the knee ligaments. Nathan plans to continue working at the iRAP lab and use the canine hind limb computer model to further investigate canine knee surgeries and braces that stabilize the cranial cruciate ligament deficient canine knee. He will investigate the effects on the surrounding ligaments within the canine knee.


Phone: (502) 852-0279


Graduate Students

 SalipurZdravko Salipur, PhD. He has been working in the lab as of January 2006 as a graduate research assistant. His primary project is in the field of wheelchair transportation safety. The goal is to establish a validated computer simulation model of wheelchairs in rear impact collisions, as well as define design guidelines. Zdravko completed his PhD in 2012. His dissertation focused on wheelchair passenger safety during normal and emergency driving maneuvers in public transit buses.


Phone: (502) 852-0279                             



DsouzaRaymond DSouza, M.S.,
is a graduate student in Mechanical engineering at the University of Louisville. He received his bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from India in 2004. Raymond began working in the iRAP lab in Spring 2006 as a research assistant under Dr. Bertocci. Primary projects include design and testing of an energy absorbing caster for a wheelchair and simulations for frontal impact of wheelchairs used in motor vehicle transportation. He plans to continue working in the lab as a research assistant while pursuing his PhD.


Phone: (502) 852-0279 


Research Engineers

 SmalleyCraig Smalley, M.Eng., is a research engineer with the iRAP lab.  He received his Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from U of L in Aug 2009.  His primary projects involve the development and evaluation of devices to prevent pressure ulcers in disabled canines and the study of gait characteristics in canines who have undergone surgery for the repair of injured cranial cruciate ligaments.


Phone: (502) 852-0279





Kyle Bialczak, BS - Mechanical Engineering, 2006, University of Louisville

Emily Hemberger, BS - School of Medicine, 2007, University of Louisville


Nathan Brown, M.Eng, - Mechanical Engineering, 2009, University of Louisville

Raymond D'Souza, MS - Mechanical Engineering, 2008, University of Louisville

Zdravko Salipur, M.Eng. - Mechanical Engineering, 2008, University of Louisville

Sheryll Sison, M.Eng. - Mechanical Engineering, 2008, University of Louisville

Edward Fowler, M.Eng. - Mechanical Engineering, 2008, University of Louisville

Angela Knight, M.Eng. - Mechanical Engineering, 2007, University of Louisville

Catherine Armstrong, MS - Rehabilitation Science and Technology, 2004, University of Pittsburgh

Fernando Aguel, MS - Bioengineering, 2004, University of Pittsburgh

BC Deemer, MS - Bioengineering, 2001, University of Pittsburgh

Alex Leary, MS - Bioengineering, 2000, University of Pittsburgh


Zdravko Salipur, PhD - Mechanical Engineering, 2012, University of Louisville

Nathan Brown, PhD - Mechanical Engineering, 2012, University of Louisville

Angela Knight Thompson, PhD - Mechanical Engineering, 2011, University of Louisville

Dongran Ha, PhD - Rehabilitation Science and Technology, 2004, University of Pittsburgh

Linda van Roosmalen, PhD - Rehabilitation Science and Technology, 2001, University of Pittsburgh

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