Arizona/NASA Space Grant Success Stories

Jillian Urban, 2008 Space Grant Intern, 2009 NAU Grad

Jillian Urban, 2008 Space Grant Intern, 2009 NAU Grad

I am currently a PhD student in the Center for Injury Biomechanics at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences with Dr. Joel Stitzel.  I received a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Tech/Wake Forest University in May 2012.  My graduate research is primarily in understanding brain injury mechanisms.   The first part of this research focuses on the development of models of the brain and skull for use in predicting head injuries in car crashes.  A radiological analysis of head CT and MRI scans are used to quantify anatomical changes and develop a scalable finite element model of the skull and brain for an individual of any gender and age.  The second part of this research is focused on understanding the location and distribution of brain injury in motor vehicle crashes.  Occupant and crash parameters in combination with head computed tomography (CT) imaging data from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) provide injury data from real world crash scenarios.  With known crash parameters, internal contacts within the vehicle, visible scalp contusions, and internal brain lesions, we are able to follow the paradigm from the crash to injury more efficiently.  The objective of this study is to relate known crash conditions and lesion location of head injury cases within the CIREN database to the strain response of SIMon via anthropomorphic test device (ATD) head kinematics, in order to better understand brain injury mechanisms.