Research Fellows

Rena F. Hale, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral fellow) earned her Bachelor of Science in engineering from LeTourneau University in 2011. The following year, she received a Master of Science in engineering from LeTourneau University. She was the first female to receive a Master of Science in engineering from LeTourneau University. In 2016, she received her doctorate in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at El Paso, and immediately began researching as a postdoctoral fellow in the Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.

In 2013, Dr. Hale won the American Society of Biomechanics Presidential Award and was awarded honorable mention on her thesis work in the journal Computers in Biology and Medicine. Her research interests include quantitative anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury prevention training, wearable feedback training technology and experimental in vitro joint testing.

Her research there examined the demographic and clinical covariates of sensorimotor processing for low-force manipulation with the upper and lower extremities. Following graduation, Dr. Lawrence worked as the director of biomechanics at Sports Academy where she developed general and sport-specific biomechanics analyses and injury risk assessments. Her research interests also include understanding sex differences in sensorimotor control and the implications for knee ligament injury.

Takashi Nagai, Ph.D. (Research Associate) received his doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh. He has clinical experience as an athletic trainer in the management of sports injuries. He is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). His research interests include the role of proprioception on neuromuscular control and joint stability, exercise-based interventions for musculoskeletal injury prevention, and musculoskeletal health across the lifespan in both civilian and military populations. He has 10 years of research experience and has had 30 peer-reviewed articles published.

Christopher V. Nagelli, Ph.D. completed his undergraduate degree in bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is currently pursuing his doctorate from The Ohio State University. His dissertation focuses on sensory dysfunction following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and its implication on knee joint function and health. Previously, Dr. Nagelli has conducted research in stroke, neurorehabilitation and tribocorrosive influences on orthopedic implants. His research interests include neuromuscular training, return-to-sport criteria, post-traumatic osteoarthritis and sensory dysfunction.

Alessandro Navacchia, Ph.D. (Research Fellow) completed a bachelor's and master's degree in Automation Engineering at the University of Bologna (Italy). During his master's degree studies, he started developing his passion for biomechanics and spent some time at the European Center for Knee Research (Leuven, Belgium) as a visiting scholar. Dr. Navacchia pursued his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Denver, where he conducted research in biomechanics at the Center for Orthopaedic Research.

Dr. Navacchia is currently a research fellow in Dr. Hewett's group at the Mayo Clinic Department of Orthopedic Surgery. His main research area is computational biomechanics. During his Ph.D. and his one-year experience as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Denver , Dr. Navacchia focused on multiscale musculoskeletal modeling of the human body to inform the TKR design process. His current projects focus on ACL injury prevention and improvement of rehabilitation techniques.