Biomechanics and Neuropsychology
Researchers are developing an end-to-end model for studying traumatic brain injury by forging links between injury prevention and impact biomechanics, neuroradiology and neuropsychology.
Matthew B. Panzer, the deputy director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a member of the UVA Brain Injury and Sports Concussion Center, who researches the biomechanics of concussion, an injury that occurs over 3 million times in the United States each year. He is also studying how the cumulative effects of sub-concussive head impacts may lead to long-term neurodegeneration, a condition that may explain some of the cognitive deficits observed in retired professional football players. For his faculty fellowship, Panzer is shadowing clinicians at the UVA Acute Concussion Evaluation Clinic, including neuropsychologist and co-director Dr. Donna Broshek, to gain a clinical perspective on how the forces from motor vehicle collisions affect symptom presentation in brain injury patients. Through this faculty fellowship, he is developing an end-to-end model for studying traumatic brain injury by forging links between his own area of expertise — injury prevention and impact biomechanics — with neuroradiology and neuropsychology, fields that are traditionally unconnected to biomechanics. By using this comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach, Panzer and UVA collaborators hope to gain deeper insight into traumatic brain injury and its effects, with the aim of helping clinicians improve patients’ treatment.