International Society of Biomechanics
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Graduate Position Investigating Traumatic Brain Injury

10 May 2022
10 May 2022
Salt Lake City, UT
United States
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Brittany Coats, Director of the Utah Head Trauma lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah, is inviting applications for 1-2 funded graduate research positions (MS/PhD, with preference for PhD).

ProjectRepetitive mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important, and dangerous, manifestation of head injury in sports and military-related trauma. Each exposure increases the risk of progressive damage to the brain and its surrounding microstructures, ultimately increasing risk of TBI with increasing severity. Despite this risk, most biomechanical studies focus solely on single impacts. We are looking for graduate students to support a federally-funded project investigating progressive damage in repeated mild traumatic brain injury. The proposed experiments will provide the first characterization of damage progression at the brain-skull interface due to repetitive head trauma, and will generate computational models that predict damage with each exposure. In this project students will learn experimental approaches for quantifying the mechanics of soft biological tissue, novel imaging technologies to capture microstructural features in situ, and multi-scale computational methods for predicting traumatic brain injury. 

Students will be encouraged to attend and present their research in academic conferences, establish network connections, and participate in professional development activities that support their future goals in academia, industry, or consulting. Dr. Coats is a strong advocate of tailoring the educational experience to each student and supporting efforts to position students to be successful in achieving their goals. 

Qualifications: A BS or MS in Mechanical Engineering or Bioengineering with strong analytical skills and proficiency using Python, Matlab, or similar programming tools. The successful candidates should have some demonstrated experience in research.

Start Date: Positions available to start as early as Fall 2022.

Application: Please contact Dr. Brittany Coats ( with a single PDF that includes: 1) a 1-page letter of interest describing your qualifications, interests, and experiences; 2) a current CV; and 3) contact information for 3 references who can speak to your potential academic and research performance.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the positions are filled.

About the University of Utah

The University of Utah is a tier 1 research institution that is home to more than 30,000 students, world-class faculty and researchers, a medical campus, and many start-up companies. The Department of Mechanical Engineering has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, fueled by the State of Utah’s Engineering Initiative, and currently houses more than 40 tenure-line faculty members, over 1,000 undergraduate and 250 graduate students (140 PhD students). 


The University of Utah campus is situated in Salt Lake City, a growing, increasingly diverse, metropolitan city with a population of 1M nestled against the backdrop of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. The greater SLC valley is an important economic hub of the mountain west and is home to a number of large biomedical and fortune 500 companies. SLC residents enjoy a highly accessible and walkable downtown with vibrant restaurants, sports, nightlife, LGBTQ+ and cultural events. Salt Lake City residents enjoy easy access to national parks (8 within a few hours’ drive), world-class skiing/snowboarding (7 resorts within 1 hour), hiking, fishing, biking, and rafting/kayaking. In addition, students enjoy free access to public transportation and the convenience of an international airport located only 15 minutes from campus.