David Brienza PhD



    Professor and Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Planning

    Office Location

    University of Pittsburgh
    Bakery Square, Suite 401
    6425 Penn Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206

    Office phone

    (412) 624-6383

Biographical Profile

Dr. David Brienza is Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology with additional professorial appointments in the Dept. of Bioengineering and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Brienza currently serves as Director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Telerehabilitation and the RERC on Spinal Cord Injury. He is the former Director of the RERC on Wheeled Mobility. He has worked in the fields of telerehabilitation, wheelchair R&D, pressure ulcer prevention, and seat cushion and support surface R&D since 1987. Other activities and interests include exercise equipment, intellectual property and personal injury law.
Dr. Brienza serves on the Board of Directors of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). Within NPUAP he has chaired the research Committee. He is a former Board member of the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association of North America (RESNA). His professional services also include service on several editorial boards for prominent journals, and participation in extramural funding peer review for NIDRR, NIH, PVA, EPVA, NSF, and Deptartemnt of Commerce. He is appointed as Adjunct Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China.

Academic Appointment

  • Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, Department of Bioengineering and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine  
  • Director, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Spinal Cord Injury (NIDRR H133E070024), Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telerehabilitation (NIDRR H133E090002)


  • BS, Electrical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 1986
  • MS, Electrical Engineering, University of Virginia, 1988 
  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, University of Virginia, 1991

Selected Publications 

  • Brienza D, Kelsey S, Karg P, Allegretti A, Olson M, Schmeler M, Zanca J, Geyer MJ, Kusturiss M, Holm M. A randomized clinical trial on preventing pressure ulcers with wheelchair seat cushions. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 Dec;58(12):2308-14. Epub 2010 Nov 10.
  • Schein RM, Schmeler MR, Saptono A, and Brienza D. Patient Satisfaction with Telerehabilitation Assessments for Wheeled Mobility and Seating. 2010 Assistive Technology, 22(4), 215-222
  • Schein RM. Schmeler MR. Brienza DM. Saptono A. Parmanto B. Development of a service delivery protocol used for remote wheelchair consultation via telerehabilitation. Telemedicine Journal & E-Health. 14(9):932-8, 2008 Nov.
  • Schein Richard M; Schmeler Mark R; Holm Margo B; Saptono A; Brienza David M. Telerehabilitation wheeled mobility and seating assessments compared with in person. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2010;91(6):874-8
  • Jan YK, Brienza DM, Boninger ML, Brenes G. Comparison of skin perfusion response to alternating and constant pressures in people with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord (1 June 2010) doi:10.1038/sc.2010.58
  • Tzen YT, Brienza DM, Karg P, Loughlin P. Effects of local cooling on sacral skin perfusion response to pressure: Implications for pressure ulcer prevention. Journal of Tissue Viability, Volume 19, Issue 3, August 2010, Pages 86-97
  • Kim J. Brienza DM. Lynch RD. Cooper RA. Boninger ML. Effectiveness evaluation of a remote accessibility assessment system for wheelchair users using virtualized reality. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 89(3):470-9, 2008 Mar.
  • Jan YK, Brienza DM, Geyer MJ and Karg T. Wavelet analysis of sacral skin blood flow response to alternating pressure. Arch Phys Med Rehabil Vol 89, January 2008
  • Kim, JB and Brienza, DM; Development of a remote accessibility assessment system through three-dimensional reconstruction technology. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 2006; 43(2): 257–272.
  • Berlowitz DR. Brienza DM. Are all pressure ulcers the result of deep tissue injury? A review of the literature. [Review] [27 refs] [Journal Article. Review] Ostomy Wound Management. 53(10):34-8, 2007 Oct.
  • Jan, YK and Brienza DM. Technology for Pressure Ulcer Prevention. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury. Spring 2006; 11(4): 30-41.
  • Brienza, DM; Karg, PE; Geyer, MJ; Kelsey, S; Trefler, E. The relationship between pressure ulcer incidence and buttock-seat cushion interface pressure in at-risk elderly wheelchair users. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2001 Apr; 82(4):529-533.

Courses Taught

  • HRS 2702 Instrumentation and Computer interfacing
  • HRS 2703 Rehabilitation Engineering Design
  • HRS 2706 Rehabilitation Biomechanics
  • HRS 2706 Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering Design
  • HRS 3702 Soft Tissue Biomechanics
  • BIOE 1010 Bioinstrumentation
  • EE 2646 Linear Control Systems

 Research Interests

  • Wheelchair seat cushions
  • Pressure ulcer prevention
  • Soft tissue biomechanics
  • Telerehabilitation technology
  • Wheelchair technology
  • Exercise equipment technology
University of Pittsburgh, School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences all rights reserved. www.shrs.pitt.edu