Research at BEAM

Research Faculty


Cardiovascular Engineering

Dynamics and Control

Fluid Mechanics

Nanomedicine and Nanobioengineering

Solid Mechanics

Tissue Engineering

Translational Cancer Research

Research Groups

Bio-Inspired Fluids Lab

Sunny Jung, PI

Our group has research interests in various physical problems related to fluid-structure interaction, including bio-locomotion, interfacial dynamics, and fluid-elasticity coupling. If you are interested in any of our research, please contact Prof. Jung at

Bio-Inspired Engineering Lab

Jake Socha, PI

Our lab studies the biomechanics of motion in animals, conducting integrative research that crosses traditional boundaries of engineering and biology. Currently, two broad themes of our research center around gliding flight in vertebrates and internal fluid flows in invertebrates. We aim to understand animal movements both for fundamental understanding of animal physiology, ecology and evolution, and as inspiration for novel engineering applications.

Bioelectromechanical Systems Laboratory

Rafael Davalos, PI

Bioelectromechanical Systems is a cross disciplinary field that combines engineering and science from the nano to the macro level. In our laboratory, we have developed technology for tissue viability detection, picoliter sample management, and imaging for molecular medicine. Using electrical feedback to perform complex procedures in biotechnology with precision and control, we have established robust methods for single cell analysis, selective cell concentration, and cancer therapy.

Center for Injury Biomechanics

The Center for Injury Biomechanics is an interdisciplinary research center that combines the Virginia Tech College of Engineering with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The Center performs research investigating human tolerance to impact loading. The application of this research includes automobile safety, military restraints, and sports biomechanics. Research includes the combination of experimental testing dummy and human surrogates and computational modeling in order to develop human impact injury criteria. As a member of the Mechanical Engineering Department, the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute at Virginia Tech, the center offers an excellent opportunity for graduate student education through a wide variety of biomechanics courses and research experience. In addition, we have numerous collaborative projects with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Complex Systems Laboratory

Nicole Abaid, PI

The focus of the Complex Systems Laboratory is in the area of dynamical systems and control. Current research is largely focused collective behavior in multi-agent systems and spans agent-based modeling, studies of synchronization and consensus, field studies with wild animals, and bio-inspired robotic systems. Other research projects include studying the feasibility of auditory stimulation for closed-loop control of neural oscillations.

Computational Biomechanics Group

Costin Untaroiu, PI

The Computational Biomechanics Group headed by Dr. Untaroiu is part of the Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB) at Virginia Tech, one of the leading research entities in the world in the area of injury biomechanics. Untaroiu’s group use a multidisciplinary approach in solving various real-world impact biomechanics problems. Our current projects include the development and validation of pedestrian human finite element models with different anthropometries and of a lower limb dummy model for under-body blast events for automotive manufactures, and the Army Research Lab, respectively. Other research is focused on the development of accurate material models for hard and soft tissues based on material test data obtained by our group members, and the design of adaptive restraint systems for self-driving cars.

Damage Science and Mechanics

John Duke, Jr, PI

In order to assure the safety and reliability of critical assets understanding the science of how systems degrade and how this damage affects performance is critical. The Damage Science and Mechanics Laboratory works within the multiple disciplines needed to achieve this goal. Sustainable system planning and design, life-extension, system prognostics, system and structural health monitoring are areas where this work finds applications.

Kevin P. Granata Biomechanics Lab

Robin Queen, PI

The Kevin P. Granata Biomechanics Lab is the current center of research for Robin Queen, who is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.  She was previously the director of the "Coach K" Lab at Duke University where she worked with a variety of industry sponsors including the Nike Sport Research Lab and DonJoy Orthopedics. Her focus is on lower extremity biomechanics with an emphasis in foot and ankle biomechanics.  Her work focuses on understanding changes in lower extremity loading and movement symmetry that result from injury and pathology.  In addition, Dr. Queen works on development of various interventions to restore movement and loading symmetry in an attempt to decrease future risk of joint damage and prevent subsequent injuries. 


James Hanna, PI

Nonlinear classical mechanics, particularly dynamics of thin structures.  Some recent topics include: impact of flexible objects; equilibria and snap-through bifurcations of cables, strips, and sheets; geometric singularities; multi-stable and collapsing structures.

Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics in Nature

Anne Staples, PI

The research at the Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics in Nature (FiNLab) is focused on two main themes: fluid flows in nature, and advanced computational methods for fluid flows. The natural systems studied at FiNLab range from insect respiratory flows, which occur at the microscale, to planetary atmospheric flows with length scales on the order of tens of kilometers. There is an emphasis on biomimetics for efficiency, resilience, and sustainability, on high performance computing, and on advanced multiscale computational modeling.

Materials Response Group

Scott Case and David Dillard, PIs

The Materials Response Group (MRG) is a research group within the Engineering Science & Mechanics Department at Virginia Tech focusing on the response of material systems to mechanical and environmental loading. Of particular interest are polymer and ceramic composites, adhesives, and scientific visualization.

Multiphysics Intelligent and Dynamical Systems

Shima Shahab, PI

Multiphysics Intelligent and Dynamical Systems (MInDS) laboratory focuses on the intersection of smart materials and dynamical systems for various interdisciplinary applications such as energy harvesting, biomimetic locomotion and contactless acoustic energy transfer; biomedical opportunities and challenges.  Current research topics at MInDS include intelligent fluid flow control using smart materials and metamaterial-inspired concepts, high-intensity focused ultrasound for wireless charging of low-power sensors, and ultrasound responsive drug delivery systems. The goal is to design new generation of smart autonomous biomedical systems which leads to new medical diagnostics and treatments.


Mark Stremler, PI

MULTISCALE TRANSPORT IN ENVIRONMENTAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS: The MultiSTEPS program aims to prepare future leaders of industrial and academic research to think, collaborate, and solve problems at the intersection of the engineering and biological sciences.

National Impact Database

Steve Rowson and Stefan Duma, PIs

Over the past 60 years, researchers across the planet have worked to understand the biomechanics of concussion and associated brain injuries. This chapter presents a summary of these efforts that begin with the human cadaver research performed in the 1950s and served as the foundation for the severity index and head injury criterion injury metrics. Following this research, experiments were performed on primates in order to quantify the injury physiology associated with concussion. More recently, the National Football League reconstructed concussive impacts and presented the first injury risk functions for concussion. The fourth dataset includes over two million head impacts measured with helmet instrumentation on volunteers playing football. By analyzing all of these data together, researchers have presented an array of injury risk functions for concussion that use both linear and rotational head acceleration parameters. Laboratory experiments utilize these risk functions to evaluate the performance of helmets and their ability to reduce the risk of concussion. Clinical studies have been performed that support and confirm the laboratory findings. The future of helmet testing will utilize a new impact system that more accurately reflects the head and neck kinematics the players experience during head impacts in sports.

Nature-Inspired Fluids & Interfaces

Jonathan Boreyko, PI

The Nature-Inspired Fluids & Interfaces Lab is led by Dr. Jonathan Boreyko. Inspired by nature's design for animals, plants, and the weather, our group's research involves characterizing unexplored phenomena and designing innovative materials and systems. Research is a multi-disciplinary combination of fluids dynamics, heat transfer, interfacial phenomena, materials science, and renewable energy.

Orthopedic Mechanobiology Laboratory

Vincent Wang, PI

The Orthopedic Mechanobiology Laboratory at Virginia Tech was established in 2015. Our laboratory mission is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of skeletal soft tissue injuries through translational research studies.

Musculoskeletal soft tissues such as tendon, ligament, cartilage, and meniscus are composite biological structures that serve vital mechanical functions during activities of daily living.

Ongoing research investigations can be broadly categorized as follows:

  • Quantifying structure-function relationships in tendon using knockout mice and injury models
  • In vivo studies of tendon injury and healing
  • Development and application of non-invasive imaging techniques for quantitative assessment of tissue integrity

Ross Dynamics Lab

Shane Ross, PI

The Ross Dynamics Lab performs mathematical modeling and experiments of nonlinear dynamics with applications to patterns of dispersal in oceanic and atmospheric flows, passive and active aerodynamic gliding, dynamic buckling of flexible structures, ship dynamics, orbital mechanics, and control of escaping dynamics. Dr. Ross is the Director and Recruiting Coordinator of BIOTRANS, an interdisciplinary graduate education program to cross-train graduate students in biology and engineering to work on biological transport problems in environmental and physiological systems.


Raffaella De Vita, PI

The STRETCH lab investigates the relationship between the mechanical behavior and complex structure of biological systems by combining experimental, theoretical, and computational methods. Ligaments, tendons, muscles, tracheae, cells, and lipid bilayers are examples of biological systems that are currently studied in the lab.

Traumatic Nerve Technologies

Pamela VandeVord, PI

The Traumatic Nerve Technologies (TNT) lab conducts research in many diverse areas! We are taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding nerve injuries, cell repair strategies and technologies that assist in prevention, identification and treatment of nervous tissue injuries. By advancing the fundamental understanding of the behavioral, morphologic, and molecular mechanistic repercussions accompanying traumatic injuries, we will further identify molecular targets and outcome measures needed for effective treatment strategies.

Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings

Stefan Duma, PI

Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have been providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of research on head impacts in sports and identify which helmets best reduce concussion risk. This work is done as part of Virginia Tech’s service mission and is 100% independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers.


Volunteer Research Opportunity

VStudents from the department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics along with Dr. Nicole Abaid are conducting a Senior Design Project titled "Controlling Crowds Through Human-Robot Interactions." The goal of this project is to study how we can use a human-robot interaction to influence the movement of a group of people. To test our study, we will be performing an interactive experiment using a mobile robot and human participants in The Cube Lab at Moss Arts Center.

We are looking for student volunteers! Students will have an opportunity to participate in university research, and gain exposure to robotics, dynamics, and motion capture analysis in a state of the art lab.