New Project to Investigate Progressive PAC Damage


Dr. Coats recently received NSF funding to investigate progresssive damage at the brain-skull interface. The study involves high-rate testing and imaging of repeated loading in the subarachnoid trabeculae and blood vessels. Constituitve formulations of damage progression will be created and integrated into our multi-scale computational framework to predict progresssion of brain strain during repeated head impact. The project is in collaboration with Ken Monson (University of Utah) and Michele Moreno (University of Rome Tor Vergata).

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Lizzie Rocks UROP Symposium

2022 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Congratulations to Elizabeth (Lizzie) Su for a successful UROP research experience and presentation!  Lizzie used convolutional neural networks to predict injury prior to standard methods of detection.  Results found that injury could be detected earlier than standard optical coherence tomography imaging.  She is currently working on a variety of parameters to improve predictions with the CNN and the incorporation of transfer learning to manage small image datasets. She will continue the work and submit a publication this summer. Congratulations Lizzie!!  You did an excellent job! Her poster can be viewed here.      

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Nathan Bartlett


Name:  Nathan Bartlett Hometown:  Las Vegas Previous Degrees, Institutions:  BS (in progress), University of Utah, Bioengineering Research Interests/Project:  Three-dimensional analysis of skull fracture patterns Interests outside of Research: Baseball, skiing, hiking, weightlifting, running, and basketball Honors/Awards: Recipient of the Academic Achievement, Utah Heritage, and Utah Legacy Scholarships 15 minutes of fame:  I was the MVP of the championship game for my high school state tournament when I was a junior. Throughout the whole season, I had a fracture in the navicular bone in my foot. I would have kept playing baseball in college, however, I waited too long to see a doctor and had to have two […]

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Acoustic Warnings Reduce Head Trauma


Congratulations to Mohammad Homayounpour, PhD Graduate of Dr. Andrew Merryweather’s Ergonomics and Safety group on his publication Cervical muscle activation characteristic and head kinematics in males and females following acoustic warnings and impulsive head forces published in Annals of Biomedical Engineering. Sex, head and neck posture, and cervical muscle preparation are contributing factors in the severity of head and neck injuries. However, it is unknown how these factors modulate the head kinematics. In this study, twenty-four (16 male and 8 female) participants experienced 50 impulsive forces to their heads with and without an acoustic warning. Both sex and warning type […]

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In Situ Mechanics of the Subarachnoid Space


Congratulations to PhD Graduate Nik Benko on his publication Mechanical characterization of the human pia-arachnoid complex published in the Journal of Mechanical Behavior and Biomedical Materials. In this study, Nik quantified the normal traction modulus of the pia-arachnoid complex (PaC) in five post-mortem human subjects using hydrostatic fluid pressurization in combination with optical coherence tomography. This study is the first to characterize the mechanics of the human pia-arachnoid complex and quantify material properties in situ. Data from the study suggest implementing a heterogeneous model of the brain-skull interface in computational models of TBI may lead to more realistic injury prediction. The full article can be found here: Benko N, Luke […]

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Impact Angle and Fall Height Effect Skull Fracture Patterns


Congratulations to Jiawei Yan on his recent publication The effect of impact angle and fall height on skujl fracture patterns in infants published in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. The objectives of this research were to utilize a newly developed linear elastic fracture mechanics finite element model of infant skull fracture to investigate the effect of impact angle and fall height on the predictions of skull fracture patterns in infants. Nine impact angles of right parietal bone impacts were simulated from three different heights onto a rigid plate. Impact angle significantly affected the fracture initiation site and orientation. Fall height significantly affected the fracture […]

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SB3C 2021 Virtual

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Congratulations Kiffer Creveling!


Kiffer Creveling successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation in Mechanical Engineering in front of his graduate committee as well as family and friends on zoom.  His dissertation, Characterization and Modeling of Vitreoretinal Adhesion in the Eye, takes the first step in identifying human morphological and mechanical differences in age- and region-related vitreoretinal adhesion, understanding the microstructure, and modeling of the vitreoretinal interface.  Congratulations on all your hard work!  Best of luck Kiffer!      

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Congratulations Nik Benko!

Nik posing for a holiday portrait in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

Nik Benko successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation in Mechanical Engineering in front of his graduate committee as well as family and friends on zoom.  His dissertation, Mechanical Characterization of the Brain-Skull Interface with Applications to Predictions of Axonal Injury, takes the first step in identifying morphological and mechanical differences in the pia-arachnoid complex of the brain to help better understand and model traumatic brain injury (TBI). Congratulations on all your hard work! Best of luck Nik!

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SB3C 2020 Virtual


Dr. Brittany Coats, Jiawei Yan, and Mitch Metcalf attended the 2020 SB3C conference virtually to present research from our lab to other bioengineers around the world.  Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference switched to being virtual.  Jiawei gave a presentation on his work evaluating the effect of bone thickness on skull fracture in infants.  Mitch presented on the anisotropic and region-dependent fracture toughness in porcine and human infant cranial bone. Joseph presented a poster on the enzymatic characterization of the vitreoretinal interface.  Fun was had by all and we learned a great deal of new science.  We are looking forward to the next conference.  Great […]

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