B.S. ​Integrated Science and Technology, James Madison UniversityM.S. ​Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of VirginiaPh.D. ​Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia

""Research is what I am doing, when I don't know what I am doing"--Wernher von Braun"

Jason R. Kerrigan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Director of UVa's Center for Applied Biomechanics.  After graduating with a BS in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University in 2001, Jason joined the Center for Applied Biomechanics as a graduate student in 2002. He completed both ME and PhD degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and then joined the CAB's senior professional research staff in 2009. In 2014, he expanded his role at CAB, and with UVA, to include classroom instruction and academic advising as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE). In 2017, Jason took over as the CAB's Deputy Director, and in 2019, Jason was promoted to Associate Professor, and became CAB Director.  

His research in injury biomechanics focuses on studying the epidemiology of public health problems related to human injury, characterizing the mechanical response of human tissues, identifying their thresholds for failure (injury), developing and improving mechanical and computational surrogates to study the risks of injury, and exploring countermeasures to mitigate human injury risk and severity.  While his research is applied most frequently to automobile safety and the study of occupant protection and vehicle crashworthiness, he has more recently been exploring orthopaedic biomechanics, and how medical devices can replace and affect human musculoskeletal mechanics.  Currently, Dr. Kerrigan has open projects in

-Protecting occupants of highly automated vehicles (HAVs)
-Improving protection for female and obese vehicle occupants
-Characterizing the mechanical response and failure properties of both the lumbar spine and abdominal adipose tissue for improvement of human body computational models
-Vehicle design for pedestrian safety
-Predicting injury in non-standard vehicle crash environments, and examining real-world crashes for in-depth analysis
-Total ankle replacement, subtalar fusion, ankle syndesmosis injury and repair, and how they affect foot/ankle mechanics
-Foot/ankle injuries in athletes 
-Optimizing the mechanical conditions for fracture healing by improving fracture fixation constructs

In the past, he has performed extensive research in vehicle-pedestrian and vehicle-cyclist impact, rollover crashes, lower extremity and spinal injuries, sensor-based 3-d motion tracking, human musculoskeletal tissue characterization, and some smaller projects in motorsports, off-road vehicles, and human response to pre-crash maneuvers.  Overall, Dr. Kerrigan’s research portfolio includes everything from small sample to whole body post-mortem human surrogate testing, human body computational modeling, structural crashworthiness, field data analyses, and dummy biofidelity assessments and improvements. Dr. Kerrigan’s work has been supported by industry, government, and academic/research institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has authored three book chapters, over 60 refereed journal articles, and over 90 conference publications.

Currently, Prof. Kerrigan teaches Continuum Mechanics at the graduate level, and Strength of Materials for 2nd-year undergraduates in MAE, serves on the UVa Faculty Senate and the SEAS Faculty Council. He grew up in Reston, Virginia, but now lives in Charlottesville with his wife and two elementary-aged sons.


  • Young Researcher Award, Dept of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UVa 2019
  • Forest McFarland Award, SAE 2017
  • Young Researcher Award, IRCOBI 2008

Research Interests

  • Injury Biomechanics
  • Orthopaedic Biomechanics and Injury Rehabilitation
  • Automobile Safety and Active/Passive Safety Integration

Deadliest Crash

At UVA's Center for Applied Biomechanics, researchers developed a dynamic rollover crash test and examined how to improve crash dummies in an effort to improve on current approaches to rollover safety.

In the News

Selected Publications

  • Rawska K, Gepner B, Kulkarni S, Chastain K, Zhu J, Richardson R, Forman J, Kerrigan JR. (2019) Submarining sensitivity across varied anthropometry in autonomous driving system environment. Traffic Injury Prevention. In Press. Traffic Injury Prevention 2019
  • Toczyski J, Kim T, Kerrigan J. (2019) Methods of updating body orientation in crash scenarios based on body’s local angular rate. Measurement Science and Technology. 30(10):1-12 ABS Measurement Science and Technology. 2019
  • Roberts C, Toczyski J, Kerrigan JR. (2019) Cervical spine injury in rollover crashes: anthropometry, excursion and roof deformation and ATD prediction. Clinical Biomechanics. 64: 42-8. ABS Clinical Biomechanics. 2019
  • Graci V, Douglas E, Seacist T, Kerrigan J, Mansfield J, Bolte J, Sherony R, Hallman J, Arbogast KB. (2019) Characterization of the motioin of booster-seated children during simulated in-vehicle pre-crash maneuvers. Traffic Injury Prevention. ABS Traffic Injury Prevention. 2019
  • McMurry T, Bose D, Ridella SA, Eigen AM, Crandall JR, Kerrigan JR. (2016) Epidemiology of moderate-to-severe injury patterns observed in rollover crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 90: 36-40 ABS Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2016
  • Gepner B, Joodaki H, Sun Z, Jayathirtha M, Kim T, Forman J, Kerrigan JR. (2018) Performance of the obese GHBMC models in the sled and belt pull test conditions. 2018 IRCOBI Conference on the Biomechanics of Injury. ABS IRCOBI 2018

Courses Taught

  • MAE 6020/AM 6020/CE 6720: Continuum Mechanics with Applications Each Fall Semester
  • MAE 2310/CE 2310: Strength of Materials Each Spring Semester

Featured Grants & Projects