Kevin P. Granata
Dr. Kevin Granata, a professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM), was known by friends and colleagues as a man who was passionate — first and foremost about his wife, Linda, and their children, Eric, Alex, and Ellen, and also about his work as an educator and researcher.
“Professor Granata distinguished himself by making many outstanding scholarly contributions,” said ESM Department Head Dr. Ishwar Puri. “He has been hailed by experts in the field of biomechanics as one of the top five researchers in the nation for his studies of movement dynamics in cerebral palsy.”
Kevin was also an athlete who participated in biathlons and triathlons and coached his sons’ lacrosse teams.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1961, Kevin completed undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and physics at Ohio State University (OSU) and a master’s degree in physics at Purdue University, where he met Linda. He worked in the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, later returning to OSU to earn his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.
In 1997, Dr. Granata was recruited by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Virginia to direct research in the Motion Analysis and Motor Performance Laboratory, a position he held until joining the Virginia Tech ESM faculty in 2003.
At Virginia Tech he established the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory, a top-flight research facility he co-directed with colleague Dr. Michael Madigan of ESM.
“Dr. Granata’s research vision was to develop a center to study the essence of human movement and how machines, braces, and walking devices could be developed to overcome human disability,” wrote Dr. Mark Abel, a professor of orthopaedics at UVA.
Dr. Sara Wilson, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Kansas and a former post-doctoral research associate of Dr. Granata’s at UVA, wrote in a tribute that he taught her several important lessons — science is fun, to be a good scientist one should look across interdisciplinary boundaries, creativity in science is important, people are important, and family is important.
“Kevin was a visionary scientist who truly believed in the possibilities of changing the world through theoretical and empirical research,” said Dr. Thurmon Lockhart of Virginia Tech’s Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “As a friend, he was caring and pure of heart. He gave me guidance about living a simple life. He was my friend, my colleague, and my mentor, and he will be truly missed.”