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Dave Brienza is an electrical engineer that has been investigating, developing, and evaluating technology for mobility (wheelchairs) and tissue integrity management (seat cushions and mattresses) for the last 28 years. He is a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with additional faulty appointments in the Department of Bioengineering and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He has served as the Director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Wheeled Mobility (2001-2004), Director of the RERC on Telerehabilitation (2004-2015) and Director of the RERC on Spinal Cord Injury (2007-2013). Brienza has an extensive record of federal funding and publication in the area of rehabilitation technology.

The scope of his work ranges from technology development in the seating and mobility, to investigations on the physiological responses to mechanical and heat loading, to clinical effectiveness research in the form of large-scale RCTs. He is the inventor on seven patents related to technology for people with disabilities.


Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology


Master of Rehabilitation Technology
Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science
Doctor of Physical Therapy/Doctor of Philosophy in Bioengineering
Prosthetics and Orthotics
Rehabilitation Technology

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of Virginia, 1991
  • MS, University of Virginia, 1988

Representative Publications

  • Brienza D , Antokal S, Herbe L, et al. Friction-induced skin injuries - Are they pressure ulcers? An updated NPUAP white paper. Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing. 2014;42(1):62-64.
  • Zaaqoq AM1, Namas R, Almahmoud K, Azhar N, Mi Q, Zamora R, Brienza DM, Billiar TR, Vodovotz Y. (2014) Inducible Protein-10, a Potential Driver of Neurally Controlled Interleukin-10 and Morbidity in Human Blunt Trauma. Crit Care Med. 2014 Feb 26.
  • Huang W, Vodovotz Y, Kusturiss MB, Barclay D, Greenwald K, Boninger ML, Coen PM, Brienza D , Sowa G.  (2013) Identification of Distinct Monocyte Phenotypes and Correlation with Circulating Cytokine Profiles in Acute Response to Spinal Cord Injury: A Pilot Study. PM R. 2013 Oct 17. pii: S1934-1482(13)01138-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2013.10.006.
  • C. Ziraldo, A. Solovyev, A. Allegretti, S. Krishnan, M.K. Henzel, G.A. Sowa, D. Brienza, G. An, Q. Mi, Y. Vodovotz (2013) A computational, tissue-realistic model of pressure ulcer formation in individuals with spinal cord injury. Journal of Critical Care. 02/2013; 28(1):e23.
  • Turkovich, M ., Hu, J., Van Roosmalen, L., & Brienza, D. (2013). Computer simulations of obesity effects on occupant injury in frontal impacts. International Journal of Crashworthiness, 18(5), 502-515.
  • Yi-Ting Tzen;   David M. Brienza ; Patricia E. Karg; Patrick J. Loughlin. (2013) Effectiveness of local cooling for enhancing tissue ischemia tolerance in people with spinal cord injury. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 36(4) pp. 357-364. DOI:
  • Solovyev A, Mi Q, Tzen Y-T, Brienza D, Vodovotz Y (2013) Hybrid Equation/Agent-Based Model of Ischemia-Induced Hyperemia and Pressure Ulcer Formation Predicts Greater Propensity to Ulcerate in Subjects with Spinal Cord Injury. PLoS Comput Biol 9(5): e1003070. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003070
  • Charlie Lachenbruch, PhD; Yi-Ting Tzen, PhD; Dave M. Brienza, PhD ; Patricia E. Karg, MS; and Peter Anthony Lachenbruch, PhD. (2013) The Relative Effects of Interface Pressure, Shear Stress, and Temperature of Tissue Ischemia: a Cross-sectional Pilot Study. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2013;59(3):25-34.
  • Becky L. Faett, Mary Jo Geyer, Leslie A. Hoffman, and David M. Brienza , "Design and Development of a Telerehabilitation Self-Management Program for Persons with Chronic Lower Limb Swelling and Mobility Limitations: Preliminary Evidence," Nursing Research and Practice, vol. 2012, Article ID 608059, 10 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/608059
  • Boninger, ML, D Brienza, S Charlifue, Y-Y Chen, K C Curley, D E Graves, S Groah, A W Heinemann, L M Hudson, A B Jackson, K L Johnson, C Z Kalpakjian, A Kusiak, K E Larson, T S Agustin, A M Sherwood, N Shinowara, T Stripling and D Tate. State of the Science Conference in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation 2011: introduction. Spinal Cord advance online publication, March 27, 2012; doi:10.1038/sc.2012.13
  • 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.

Research Interests

  • Tissue Integrity Management
  • Seating and Mobility Technology