Joel Stitzel, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Abstract: Subconcussive head impact exposure is certainly in the news these days, and certainly the subject of much scientific investigation. It is probably nowhere more needed than in youth sports, the most underserved and also largest population of athletes in the US and worldwide. This talk will discuss our experience in youth sports with multidisciplinary teams investigating subconcussive impact exposure – starting with youth football through NIH supported studies and expanding into other youth sports. I will discuss how our interdisciplinary teams tackle the issue of imaging and biomechanics and the engineer’s role in that endeavor. I will share some of what we have done to tackle the development of metrics for measuring subconcussive impact exposure. Also will share a computational model of the brain we have developed to explore more deeply the issue of subconcussive impact exposure and correlation with medical imaging. Last I will discuss instrumentation we have developed to measure subconcussive impact exposure in non helmeted and other sports and its role going forward.
Biography: Dr. Joel D. Stitzel, Ph. D. is professor and chair of Biomedical Engineering at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Program Leader of the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest Center for Injury Biomechanics. His interests include human injury biomechanics, particularly computational modeling of the human body and the relationship between computational model-based metrics and criteria and real-world injury and disease. He has a BS in Engineering Science and Mechanics, MS in Biomedical Engineering, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He has worked in Human Injury Biomechanics for 19 years. He has been Co-PI of a Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) Center at WFU for 14 years. He was the founding PI of the Global Human Body Models Consortium (GHBMC) Integration Center, an organizer in a global endeavor to create an industry-standard virtual human model for injury prediction. He and academic clinical collaborators have, with support from the NIH NINDS, instrumented youth sports teams and included medical imaging to better understand both the biomechanical basis of, and physiologic response to subconcussive head impacts. His group has developed an in-mouth sensor for measurement of head impacts in helmeted and non-helmeted applications. He works in the areas of automotive, sports, and military applications, medical device development and aerospace medicine. He and multidisciplinary teams of which he is a part have received support from industry and government sponsors including the DOT, NASA, NSF, CDC, DOD, and NIH.