If professional achievement and boundless human qualities were keys to a long life, Kevin Granata, Ph.D., would not have died on Monday April 17. He was one of 32 students and faculty slain by a gunman on the campus of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern United States history. The reaction to his death from colleagues is testament to the untimeliness and tragedy of this particular death.
Dr. Granata, a professor in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at Virginia Tech, is widely published and cited. His research interests at the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory at the school include age and gender factors influencing neuromuscular control of balance and stability, occupational factors influencing risk of musculoskeletal load and instability, neuromuscular performance in voluntary and involuntary control and computational and robot simulation of balance and legged locomotion. His study in recent years of cerebral palsy draws on much of his expertise in these areas.
Prior to his appointment at Virginia Tech in 2003, Professor Granata served in the military and graduated with a Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1993. He held a full time appointment in the Orthopaedic Surgery department at the University of Virginia (U VA) from May 1997 to January 2003, when he took up his appointment at Virginia Tech. Since 2003 he has continued his orthopaedic research at U VA as an adjunct faculty member.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ishwar K. Puri, the head of the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department, described Dr. Granata as one of the top five biomechanics researchers in the country working on movement dynamics in cerebral palsy.
Professor Granata authored or co-authored scores of papers, many with his Ph.D. supervisor at Ohio State and later research collaborator, William Marras, Ph.D.
Dr. Marras, the Director of the Biodynamics Laboratory at OSU and a professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering faculty at the school, came to know Dr. Granata well, both professionally and personally. In an interview with Ergonomics Today