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Virginia Tech Professor Pamela VandeVord named American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow

April 20, 2017

Pamela VandeVord
Pamela VandeVord inspects the large blast tube where much of her research is conducted.

Pamela VandeVord, the N. Waldo Harrison Professor and interim head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech, was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows.

VandeVord was selected for research accomplishments in the field of blast-induced traumatic brain and nervous system injury. Her work has provided valuable insight into physical and psychological effects of explosions on military personnel.

AIMBE held a formal induction ceremony on March 20 as part of the institute’s Annual Meeting at the National Academy of Sciences Great Hall in Washington, D.C.

"Dr. VandeVord's ground breaking research is helping to better understand the mechanisms and consequences of primary blast-induced traumatic brain injury. She has developed unique methods and techniques to study the effects of blast waves on the brain,” said Warren Hardy, director of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest Center for Injury Biomechanics. “­This work is critical for better protection of America's warfighters and for better treatment of soldiers who have been exposed to blasts. The persistent threat of improvised explosive devices in theater make her research vital to the continued protection of our country and our allies."

VandeVord has pioneered research in blast biomechanics for brain injury, a body of work that brings new insights into the physical and behavioral changes affected by traumatic brain injury. This multi-tiered approach yields a unique perspective on the holistic effects of blast trauma, from the injury to brain cells at the smallest level to cognitive and outward expressions.

“I am honored to be a part of this college of fellows,” said VandeVord, also director of the Traumatic Nerve Technologies Laboratory at Virginia Tech. “The new ideas that have emerged from this research really have the potential to improve quality of life. If we can adapt physical and pharmacological treatment more closely to the changes we have observed, recovery could be faster and more thorough.”

VandeVord has previously been honored with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and has received awards for excellence from both Wayne State and Virginia Tech.

As director of the Traumatic Nerve Technologies lab, VandeVord guides students using a multidisciplinary approach to understanding nerve injuries, cell repair strategies, technologies that assist in prevention, and identification and treatment of nervous tissue injuries.

VandeVord earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State and master’s degree and Ph.D. from Wayne State.

written by Alex Parrish

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