Biomechanics at SBES crosses a wide range of topics including injury biomechanics, musculoskeletal biomechanics, and locomotion. Research is application-oriented and wide ranging including impact injuries, blast injuries, sport injuries, work place injuries, and the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings. Grants from military, industrial and governmental agencies allow a higher degree of analysis than would be possible on educational funds.

Phillip J. Brown

Phillip BrownDr. Brown leads a mechanical design and engineering team to develop and fabricate medical device prototypes for commercialization. He also conducts surgical biomechanical studies with orthopedic, plastic, neurosurgery, and trauma surgeons (recent focus in spine). In addition, he works in the field of clinical Additive Manufacturing (or 3D printing) which includes complex anatomical design, mechanical design, medical models, devices, and implants. With specialties in mechanical design, additive manufacturing, anatomical modeling, and biomechanical testing.

Kerry Danelson

Kerry DanelsonWe work on military and orthopaedic biomechanics. The goal of our military research is to contribute to the understanding of the body’s response to blast loading. We also work with orthopaedic surgeons to research reasons for injury as well as was to improve surgical techniques.

Raffaella De Vita

The STRETCH lab investigates the relationship between the mechanical behavior and complex structure of biological systems by combining experimental, theoretical, and computational methods. Ligaments, tendons, muscles, tracheae, cells, and lipid bilayers are examples of biological systems that are currently studied in the lab.


Clay Gabler

Clay GablerMy research focuses on reducing the risk of crashes and crash injury for occupants of autonomous cars and for the vulnerable road users which these new vehicles will encounter, e.g. pedestrians and bicyclists. Areas of research include injury biomechanics, injury countermeasures, data analytics, active safety systems, event data recorders, crash epidemiology, and crash modeling.

Scott Gayzik

Scott GayzikI have a background in solid mechanics and mechanical engineering, which I have leveraged, in conjunction with my training as a biomedical engineer, to make advancements in the field of accelerative loading injury protection. My specific graduate training at VT&WFU revolved around the biomechanics of injury. While my strongest area is in computational biomechanics, my research encompasses projects touching on all aspects of civilian and military injury biomechanics, including projects in human model development and morphing, injury metric development, risk curve development, thermal burns and therapeutics, and the basic-science aspects of injury biomechanics.

Andrew Kemper

Andrew KemperMy research in the field of injury biomechanics specializes in characterizing the biomechanical response and injury tolerance of biological tissues under dynamic loading conditions. This research provides crucial data for the development and validation of improved anthropomorphic test devices and finite element models used to assess injury risk in automotive and military loading environments.


Maury Nussbaum

Kerry DanelsonThe main focus of our work is on occupational injury prevention and performance enhancement, particularly in the manufacturing, healthcare, and construction sectors. Other major lines of research include fall prevention among elderly individuals, as well as non-invasive fall detection and behavioral monitoring. Our work is diverse, including both basic and applied emphases.


Robin Queen

Robin QueenOur mission is to investigate the dynamics and neuromuscular control of human movement, and to train scientists to become leaders in the fields of musculoskeletal, sports and orthopaedic biomechanics. The primary focus of the research conducted in the Granata Lab is injury prevention. Projects in the lab fall into 3 main categories: Athletic Injury Prevention, Lower Extremity Joint Arthritis and its impact on Movement, and Alterations to Movement that result from injury and pathology.

Elaheh Rahbar

Ellie RahbarI am a translational biomedical engineer whose research focus is on studying the physiologic response to traumatic injuries. Specifically, my lab focuses on studying the pathophysiology of hemorrhagic shock, traumatic brain injury and resuscitation. This includes intense investigation of blood, saliva and urine-based biomarkers to help guide therapy to those with critical injuries and also developing targeted treatments for various injury types.

Steve Rowson

Steve RowsonMy research focuses on investigating human tolerance to impact loading, with specific interests in: brain injury, skull fracture, protective design, and safety evaluation systems. My primary focus is geared towards investigating the causation and prevention of concussion.


Anne Staples

Anne StaplesThe research at the Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics in Nature (FiNLab) is focused on two main themes: fluid flows in nature, and advanced computational methods for fluid flows. The natural systems studied at FiNLab range from insect respiratory flows, which occur at the microscale, to planetary atmospheric flows with length scales on the order of tens of kilometers. There is an emphasis on biomimetics for efficiency, resilience, and sustainability, on high performance computing, and on advanced multiscale computational modeling.

Joel Stitzel

Joel StitzelComputational modeling of the human body, THUMS – Total Human Model for Safety, & GHBMC - Global Human Body Models Consortium. CIREN - Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN). Anthropometry and modeling of real-world injuries. Advanced Automatic Crash Notification Algorithms utilizing hospital and crash databases for trauma triage. iTAKL – Imaging, Telemetry, and Kinematic Modeling of instrumented youth and high school football teams with medical imaging to understand biomechanics of subconcussive head impact. Human injury biomechanics, computational modeling of the human body, the relationship between computational model-based metrics and criteria and real-world injury and disease. Current support from industry & government: DOT, NASA, NSF (REU), DOD, NIH.”

Alexandrina Untaroiu

Alexandrina UntaroiuFor paediatric population and children with single functional ventricle, Fontan operation helps to reroute the deoxygenated blood to the lungs. However, the non-physiologic flow patterns created by the Fontan procedure lead to an increase in chances of platelet deposition and pressure loss which calls for heart transplantation to prevent early and late stage pathophysiology. The Turbomachinery Lab is focused on developing a TCPC connector to reduce the pressure and energy loss and thereby unload the single functional ventricle to ensure longer survival period. A dual propeller micro-pump is developed in conjunction with the TCPC connector for augmenting the systemic pressure and thereby regaining the normal circulatory physiology in Fontan patients.

Costin Untaroiu

Costin UntaroiuThe Computational Biomechanics Group headed by Dr. Untaroiu is part of the Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB) at Virginia Tech, one of the leading research entities in the world in the area of injury biomechanics. Untaroiu’s group use a multidisciplinary approach in solving various real-world impact biomechanics problems. Our current projects include the development and validation of pedestrian human models with different anthropometries for automotive manufactures, and the development and validation of a lower limb dummy finite element model for under-body blast events for the Army Research Lab.

Jillian Urban

Jill UrbanJillian Urban’s research is focused on sport-related head injury biomechanics and concussion. Her research combines injury biomechanics with exposure science and public health to evaluate subconcussive head impact exposure in youth sports.


Pamela VandeVord

Pamela VandeVordThe Traumatic Nerve Technologies (TNT) lab conducts research in many diverse areas! We are taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding nerve injuries, cell repair strategies and technologies that assist in prevention, identification and treatment of nervous tissue injuries. By advancing the fundamental understanding of the behavioral, morphologic, and molecular mechanistic repercussions accompanying traumatic injuries, we will further identify molecular targets and outcome measures needed for effective treatment strategies.

Vincent Wang

Vincent WangOur major research focus areas include: (1) Quantifying structure-function relationships in tendon using knockout mice and injury models (2) In vivo studies of tendon injury and healing (3) Developing integrative approaches to examine muscle-tendon interactions (4) Development and application of non-invasive imaging techniques for quantitative assessment of tissue integrity (5) Experimental and mathematical modeling approaches to quantify the biomechanics of collagenous plaques.

Ashley Weaver

Ashley WeaverDr. Weaver is involved with a variety of projects primarily focused on motor vehicle crash, spaceflight, military, and sports-related traumatic injury. These projects involve medical image analysis to characterize bone mineral density, cortical thickness, and morphology across populations, development of subject- and population-specific anatomical models, and finite element modeling. She leads a NASA study to collect pre- and post-flight CT and MRI scans of astronauts to measure bone and muscle degradation that occurs in long-duration spaceflight. Several of her projects simulate automotive and spaceflight loading scenarios to predict injury risk using human body models. She is also involved with CT and MRI studies to develop anatomical models for medical device design applications.