who we are...


Dr. Michele DeGrazia PhD, RN, NNP-BC

Principal Investigator

Dr. DeGrazia is a NICU nurse practitioner and nurse scientist with more than 20 years of experience caring for sick infants; the infant population at highest risk for developing deformational plagiocephaly. She also serves as the principal investigator on two studies investigating a new positional device called the cranial cup in effort to prevent/correct deformational plagiocephaly. As Principal Investigator, Dr. DeGrazia will oversee study operations, train research staff, and identify and consent study subjects.


Dr. P. Ellen Grant MD

Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Grant is an accomplished Neuro-radiologist and researcher involved in a number of ongoing investigations examining infants with brain injury. She has extensive experience with the new technologies (non-sedated MRI and FDNIR/DCS) to be used in this investigation. As Co-Principal Investigator on this study, Dr. Ellen Grant will be responsible for the interpretation of brain MRIs, frequency domain near infrared and diffuse correlation spectroscopy results.


Dr. Nadine Gaab PhD


Nadine Gaab is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and is currently conducting a number of studies on typical and atypical language development. She will oversee the behavioral testing and the natural sleeping paradigm in the MRI scanner.


Dr. Mark Proctor MD


Dr. Proctor is an associate professor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurosurgeon at Boston Children’s hospital who has firsthand experience treating children with deformational plagiocephaly. Dr. Proctor contributes extensively to the publication of manuscripts on cranial malformations. Dr. Proctor will identify and consent potential study participants.


Dr. Alexander Allori MD MPH


Dr. Allori is a craniofacial fellow in the department of Plastics and Oral Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. His interests include pediatric craniofacial surgery and clinical/patient outcomes research. Dr. Allori will assist with identifying potential study participants.


Dr. Sara Smith PhD


Dr. Smith is a researcher with the Gaab Lab in the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience and has spent the past year working on methods for successful, non-sedated MRI scans with infants. She is also co-investigator for a Harvard Graduate School of Education study exploring language development in at-risk preschoolers. Dr. Smith will be responsible for the MRI sessions in the current study.


Dr. Maria Franceschini PhD


Dr. Franceschini is an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and a developer of the FDNIRS/DCS technology. She is a co-investigator and consultant on use of the FDNIRS/DCS technology in this study.


Courtney Porter MPH

Project Coordinator

Courtney is the project coordinator for the nursing research group in the Cardiovascular and Critical Care program at Boston Children’s Hospital. She has extensive experience coordinating the implementation and logistics of research and quality improvement projects focusing on patient care. As the project coordinator for this study, Courtney will assist the investigators with the coordination and organization of study activities as well as providing assistance with laser scans.


Allison Davis RN

Research Assistant

Allison is a Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse from Montreal Children’s Hospital and a Nursing Science Fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. She will be assisting with the enrollment of study subjects as well as providing assistance with laser scans.

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