Understanding the biomechanical mechanisms of brain injury
A direct-contact impact, an explosive-induced overpressure, and a whiplash-type head motion all can elicit detrimental responses inside the brain, causing traumatic brain injury (TBI). In order to help individuals dealing with the effects of TBI, it is critical to understand how immediate brain biomechanics affect brain cells and networks that link to short- and long-term brain dysfunction.
Collaborating with neuroscientists and fellow engineers, Haojie Mao, Canada Research Chair in Head Mechanics, will develop computational and experimental methods to characterize altered intracranial biomechanics due to trauma. He will investigate cellular, vascular, axonal, and network responses of the brain at a higher resolution, providing better opportunities for correlating brain biomechanics to injury. These correlations will improve our understanding of TBI, especially in mild TBI/concussion.
Mao will also collect biomechanical data beyond the brain. This will help improve the accuracy of brain biomechanics, and will allow for a better analysis of the responses of other systems in the head, such as facial bones, the eye and the ear.
Mao’s research can potentially identify better head protection methods by instructing on how to reduce crucial injury mechanisms. His findings may also assist with diagnostics and therapeutics by predicting potential brain injury regions and understanding biomechanics-triggered neuropathology responses.