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Contract Awarded To Focus On Brain and Eye Injuries
March 1, 2011

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command has awarded a $2.8 million contract to the Virginia Tech Forest University Center for Injury Biomechanics for phase 2 of a project focused on brain and eye injuries in the military.

Specifically, blast induced brain trauma will be investigated using experimental and computational models. Given improvements in helmet design and body armor and the resulting reductions in penetrating injuries, blast-related closed head injuries are the signature injury of most military operations.

Stefan Duma from Virginia Tech and Joel Stitzel Jr. from Wake Forest University are principal investigators on the project. Co-principal investigators are Warren Hardy, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and H. Clay Gabler, associate professor of biomedical engineering, both in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. “By combining the excellent faculty and capabilities at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University, we were able to successfully compete for this funding. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute provided the talent and resources to integrate these programs and succeed in a highly competitive funding arena,” said Duma, professor and head of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. The program will also involve new partnerships at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Prof. Duma said.

Design changes to the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle have lead to a large increase in rollover accidents, accounting for 42 percent of accidents with these vehicles and over 70 percent of all fatalities suffered in these vehicles in Iraq. Performing research on the vehicle safety aspects in the military is a logical extension of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s current research projects.

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