CIRP REU Training Testimonial - Amanda Astrologo

CHOP Mentor(s):

Valentina Graci, PhD; Aditya Belwadi, PhD, CPST
I examined a database of the most recent falls that occurred at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to determine how and where the falls took place, promoting further investigation into the biomechanical factors that may cause falls in pediatric patients.
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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Student (Summer 2019)

"Under the mentorship of Valentina Graci, PhD, I investigated factors that could aid in injury prevention during falls. As a part of this project, the majority of my time was spent learning how to write code in MATLAB and using this skill to plot and analyze electromyography (EMG) data collected from a near-fall scenario study conducted earlier this year. I also labeled and gap-filled motion capture data collected from the experiment using OptiTrack Motive.

The goal of these analyses was to understand and confirm the presence of the startle reflex before a fall. I learned the importance of video analysis as well, using it to detect any inconsistencies between the trial videos and the accelerometer data displayed in MATLAB. As part of another project under Dr. Graci’s mentorship, I examined a database of the most recent falls that occurred at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to determine how and where the falls took place, promoting further investigation into the biomechanical factors that may cause falls in pediatric patients.

The other projects that I contributed to were managed by Aditya Belwadi, PhD. One project addressed force and displacement differences of child seats with and without a load leg during a high-speed crash. I used the data collected from this experiment, conducted earlier this year, to produce bar plots in Microsoft Excel comparing the differences between the two scenarios. The other project focused on potential seating configurations in an autonomous driving vehicle and how families with small children would prefer to be seated in this situation. I was present for a study visit which gave me further exposure to the data collection process with human subjects.

This fall, I will be a senior at the University of Connecticut pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering. During the school year, I work at my school's Human Performance Lab where I help to analyze gait stability in subjects who have torn their ACL. My experience at CIRP has allowed me to further develop skills that I was only briefly exposed to during the school year. The connections I have made here have also allowed me to investigate my interests in a variety of fields."