Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Postdoctoral Research Training Program in Injury Prevention


Elizabeth Walshe, PhD oversees research on the teen brain and driving, including neural activity, at CHOP's MEG lab.

The Postdoctoral Research Training Program at CIRP provides its Fellows the opportunity to work to hone their scientific skills collaboratively with researchers and clinicians at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. Through this mentored research and/or scholarly training, CIRP’s Postdoctoral Fellows acquire the professional skills needed to pursue their desired career path, while contributing to innovations in translational research aimed at reducing the burden of injury on children, youth and families. 

Injury is the leading cause of death and acquired disability among children and youth in the United States.There is much opportunity to make a difference through the conduct of rigorous science and its translation into practical real world solutions.

Our Center is unique in its interdisciplinary approach to studying injury and our Research-to-Action-to-Impact approach, where scientists work with our health communication experts to translate their rigorous scientific findings into practical tools and guidelines for families, professionals, and policymakers to ensure research results extend to make a real-world impact. The Center is proud to collaborate with other institutions inside and outside of Philadelphia, including University of Pennsylvania (Penn), Drexel University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Virginia, to name a few.

Both CHOP and Penn offer an abundance of professional development opportunities to researchers and faculty, including: scientific seminars; grant proposal, management, and administration workshops; leadership seminars; and multi-day institutes in GIS methods and mixed methods research. CIRP's Postdoctoral Fellows are encouraged to regularly participate in these opportunities to support their continued growth as an independent researchers.

CIRP at CHOP has also been the research home for CHOP’s Clinical Fellows that are interested in applying the research methods deployed in CIRP and interested in the issues and solutions related to unintentional and intentional injury.

Work Within Interdisciplinary Research Teams

The different points of view that make up our Center form the foundation of a methodology in which research into the pre-event, event and post-event causes of injury and trauma can lead to action and ultimately lead to measureable impact on our nation's youth.

Behavioral Science

Biomedical Engineering

Epidemiology

Human Factors

Postdoctoral Fellows at CIRP

At any given time, there are usually several Post-Doctoral Fellows working on unique research at CIRP. Sometimes their position is shared between different research centers who have shared research interests providing a rich, multidisciplinary scientific environment. We collaborate with Penn Injury Science Center and The Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Leah Brogan, PhD, Psychology Fellow

Also a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Penn Injury Science Center

Training: Clinical Psychology

Research Project: Preventing Aggression in Schools Everyday (PRAISE), Addressing Community Violence-related Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Children

Mentors: Joel Fein, MD, MPH; Steve Leff, PhD

Funding: Violence Prevention Initiative; National Institute of Justice

Valentina Graci, PhD 

Training: Biomechanical engineering

Research Project: Motion and muscle activation of young volunteers in evasive vehicle maneuvers

Mentor: Kristy Arbogast, PhD

Funding: Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center

Aimee J. Palumbo, PhD, MPH

Also a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Penn Injury Science Center

Training: Epidemiology and Public Health

Research Projects: Compliance with Graduated Driver Licensing requirements; Older driver licensing and crashes; Social, neighborhood, and workplace determinants of injury and health; Understanding guidelines and use of child-restraint systems during air travel

Mentor: Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH,;Therese S. Richmond, PhD, FAAN, CRNP

Funding: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Penn Quartet Pilot Grant; National Institutes on Aging

Olivia E. Podolak, MD

Training: Medicine

Research Project: Evaluation of Objective Measures for Enhanced Diagnosis and Management of Pediatric Concussion

Mentors: Kristy Arbogast, PhD; Christina L. Master, MD, CAQSM

Funding: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Elizabeth Walshe, PhD

Joint fellow position with the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) at the University of Pennsylvania.

Training: Cognitive Neuroscience; Psychology

Research Project: Neural activity and neuropsychological factors underlying driving behavior and crash incidence in young drivers.

Mentors: Flaura K. Winston, MD, PhD; Daniel Romer, PhD

Funding: CHOP; Martin Fishbein Postdoctoral Fellowship (APPC, UPenn).

Graduates of the Post-Doctoral Research Training Program at CIRP

Aditya Belwadi, PhD, a research scientist at CIRP, completed his post-doctoral training at CIRP in 2013. During his training he was instrumental in developing advanced finite element computational modeling capabilities at the Center. As of 2015, he leads the Center’s Child Passenger Safety research team and is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST).

Meghan Marsac, PhD is a pediatric psychologist and behavioral researcher and, currently, Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky and a Pediatric Psychologist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Dr. Marsac completed her post-doctoral training at CIRP in 2009 with a research focus on promoting adjustment and preventing posttraumatic stress in ill and injured children and their parents. Dr. Marsac continued as faculty at CIRP for five years. During her time at CIRP, she conducted research to develop two interventions -- Coping Coach and the Cellie Coping Kit. Dr. Marsac remains connected to CIRP as a CIRP Associate Fellow.

Catherine C. McDonald, PhD, RN, FAAN completed her National Institutes of Health T32 and K99 post-doctoral fellowships with training at University of Pennsylvania (PENN) and CIRP in 2014. During her post-doctoral training, she led the development of the Simulated Driving Assessment. She is currently Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Penn School of Nursing and an active Senior Fellow with CIRP, collaborating on projects in adolescent driving behaviors and concussion.

Clinical Fellows

Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE completed his Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at CHOP. During that time and the immediate following years after, he was a principal and co-investigator on multiple child traffic injury prevention and brain injury research projects in CIRP. He is now a Clinical Epidemiologist and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Zonfrillo remains an Associate Fellow at CIRP. 

Daniel Corwin, MD completed his Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2017 and is now an Attending Physician in same department. Dr. Corwin's research interests focus on the diagnosis and management of pediatric mild traumatic brain injury (concussion), working in tandem with CIRP and the CHOP Sports Medicine and Performance Center.

How to Become a Postdoctoral Research Fellow

When specific postdoctoral research fellow positions at CIRP are funded, their job descriptions are posted on this website's CIRP Employment Opportunities page, as well as on the Careers at CHOP web portal.

We also encourage you to reach out to -- and network with -- our scientists who share your research interests, whether they be topical, methodological or disciplinary. You can also reach out to CIRP Training Director Tom Seacrist regardless of the posting of specific positions at CIRP.