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Valentina Graci

Valentina Graci, PhD

Assistant Research Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)

Office: School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
3122-24 Market Street;
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
2716 South Street


Valentina Graci, PhD, is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University and at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). 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."


  • BS, 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

Research Interests

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.


  • Quantitative characterization of AEB pulses across the modern fleet.
    Graci V, Maltenfort M, Schneider M, Griffith M, Seacrist T, Arbogast KB.
    Traffic Inj Prev. 2021;22(sup1):S62-S67. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2021.1961227. Epub 2021 Sep 3.
    PMID: 34477482
  • Age Differences in Occupant Motion during Simulated In-Vehicle Swerving Maneuvers.
    Graci V, Douglas E, Seacrist T, Kerrigan J, Mansfield J, Bolte J, Sherony R, Hallman J, Arbogast K.
    Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Mar 12;17(6):1834. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17061834.
    PMID: 32178285 Free PMC article.
  • The effect of vehicle countermeasures and age on human volunteer kinematics during evasive swerving events.
    Holt C, Seacrist T, Douglas E, Graci V, Kerrigan J, Kent R, Balasubramanian S, Arbogast KB.
    Traffic Inj Prev. 2020;21(1):48-54. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2019.1679798. Epub 2019 Nov 21.
    PMID: 31750733
  • Characterization of the motion of booster-seated children during simulated in-vehicle precrash maneuvers.
    Graci V, Douglas E, Seacrist T, Kerrigan J, Mansfield J, Bolte J, Sherony R, Hallman J, Arbogast KB.
    Traffic Inj Prev. 2019;20(sup2):S75-S80. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2019.1639160. Epub 2019 Aug 6.
    PMID: 31385726
  • Effect of automated versus manual emergency braking on rear seat adult and pediatric occupant precrash motion.
    Graci V, Douglas E, Seacrist T, Kerrigan J, Mansfield J, Bolte J, Sherony R, Hallman J, Arbogast KB.
    Traffic Inj Prev. 2019;20(sup1):S106-S111. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2019.1630734.
    PMID: 31381438
  • Head contacts in second-row pediatric occupants when the front-seat is reclined during automated emergency braking.
    Patton DA, Maheshwari J, Arbogast KB, Graci V.
    Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2022 Feb 2:1-12. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2022.2032003. Online ahead of print.
    PMID: 35107393
  • Dynamic Balanced Reach: A Temporal and Spectral Analysis Across Increasing Performance Demands.
    Barton JE, Graci V, Hafer-Macko C, Sorkin JD, F Macko R.
    J Biomech Eng. 2016 Dec 1;138(12):1210091-12100913. doi: 10.1115/1.4034506.
    PMID: 27551977 Free PMC article.
  • Is lower peripheral information weighted differently as a function of step number during step climbing?
    Graci V, Rabuffetti M, Frigo C, Ferrarin M.
    Gait Posture. 2017 Feb;52:52-56. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.11.023. Epub 2016 Nov 13.
    PMID: 27871018
  • Peripheral visual cues affect minimum-foot-clearance during overground locomotion.
    Graci V, Elliott DB, Buckley JG.
    Gait Posture. 2009 Oct;30(3):370-4. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2009.06.011. Epub 2009 Jul 22.
    PMID: 19628392
  • The role of lower peripheral visual cues in the visuomotor coordination of locomotion and prehension.
    Graci V.
    Gait Posture. 2011 Oct;34(4):514-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2011.07.003. Epub 2011 Jul 31.
    PMID: 21807520
  • Gender differences in trunk, pelvis and lower limb kinematics during a single leg squat.
    Graci V, Van Dillen LR, Salsich GB.
    Gait Posture. 2012 Jul;36(3):461-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.04.006. Epub 2012 May 14.
    PMID: 22591790 Free PMC article.
  • Biofidelic Evaluation of the Large Omni-Directional Child Anthropomorphic Test Device in Low Speed Loading Conditions.
    Seacrist T, Maheshwari J, Graci V, Holt CM, Akkem R, Chingas G, Douglas EC, Griffith M, Palumbo AJ.
    Stapp Car Crash J. 2019 Nov;63:213-234.
    PMID: 32311058
  • Utility of peripheral visual cues in planning and controlling adaptive gait.
    Graci V, Elliott DB, Buckley JG.
    Optom Vis Sci. 2010 Jan;87(1):21-7. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3181c1d547.
    PMID: 19918210
  • The use of the greater trochanter marker in the thigh segment model: implications for hip and knee frontal and transverse plane motion.
    Graci V, Salsich G.
    J Sport Health Sci. 2016 Mar;5(1):95-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2015.01.002.
    PMID: 27158531 Free PMC article.
  • The effects of movement pattern modification on lower extremity kinematics and pain in women with patellofemoral pain.
    Salsich GB, Graci V, Maxam DE.
    J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Dec;42(12):1017-24. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2012.4231. Epub 2012 Sep 5.
    PMID: 22960572 Free PMC article.
  • Classification of lower extremity movement patterns based on visual assessment: reliability and correlation with 2-dimensional video analysis.
    Harris-Hayes M, Steger-May K, Koh C, Royer NK, Graci V, Salsich GB.
    J Athl Train. 2014 May-Jun;49(3):304-10. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.2.21.
    PMID: 24955621 Free PMC article. Clinical Trial.
  • Trunk and lower extremity segment kinematics and their relationship to pain following movement instruction during a single-leg squat in females with dynamic knee valgus and patellofemoral pain.
    Graci V, Salsich GB.
    J Sci Med Sport. 2015 May;18(3):343-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.04.011. Epub 2014 Apr 26.
    PMID: 24836048 Free PMC article.
  • The perceptual salience of symmetrical and asymmetrical sections of a line.
    Stucchi N, Graci V, Toneatto C, Scocchia L.
    Perception. 2010;39(8):1026-42. doi: 10.1068/p6665.
    PMID: 20942356