Sara (Heltzel) Sochor


Sara is the Anatomical Donations Coordinator for the University of Virginia’s Center for Applied Biomechanics. She holds a BS and MS in Biology (with Human Anatomy emphases), which, paired with previous university level laboratory and teaching experience, allows her to effectively manage all aspects of the cadaveric material handling for the CAB. Her responsibilities include cadaveric specimen acquisition, storage, inventory maintenance, preparation, testing, autopsy, and final disposition. Specialized skills include instrumentation of Post Mortem Human Subjects (PMHS) for experimental testing and data capture, performing post-test autopsy examinations/dissections to identify injury, radiological imaging interpretation, and documentation/coding of injuries/injury severity using the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). She is an AISC.B Certified Abbreviated Injury Scaling [AIS] Specialist (CAISS), as well as a NBSTSA Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Sara also acts as the interface between the Center, the Virginia State Anatomical Program (VSAP), and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).


  • MS, Biology [Human Anatomy] – James Madison University
  • BS, Biology – James Madison University
  • AAS, Funeral Services/Mortuary Science – John Tyler Community College
  • Certificate, Surgical Technology – Piedmont Virginia Community College
  • Graduate Certificate, Forensic Death Investigation – University of Florida

Research Interests

  • Injury biomechanics using Post Mortem Human Subjects (PMHS)
  • Experimental PMHS instrumentation
  • Postmortem injury identification via radiological imaging & autopsy
  • Injury classification, severity, & coding
  • Medical student & resident training
  • Search and Rescue K-9 Training


  • Variation in the Caudal Branches of the External Carotid Artery: Comparison of Sex and Side. 2015; Medical Research Archives, (1).
  • Instrumentation for Capture of High-Speed Anatomical Movement, The FASEB Journal. 2014; 28(1) Supplement: 923-1.
  • Soft Embalming of Cadaveric Components For Training Purposes, The FASEB Journal. 2015; 29(1) Supplement: 547-11.
  • Infrequently Performed Lifesaving Procedures Utilizing a Cadaveric Teaching Model, The FASEB Journal. 2014; 28(1): 536-15.
  • Occupant Kinematics in Laboratory Rollover Tests: PMHS Response. Stapp Car Crash Journal. 2014; 58: 251-316.
  • Occupant Kinematics and Shoulder Belt Retention in Far-Side Lateral and Oblique Collisions: a Parametric Study. Stapp Car Crash Journal. 2013; 57: 343-385.


  • American Association of Anatomists (AAA)
  • Association of Surgical Technologists (AST)
  • American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB)
  • Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM)
  • Association for Bioskills Laboratory Excellence (ABLE)

Other Interests

  • Death Investigation, Travel