BME Seminar February 5, 2016

Shailesh Ganpule, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute
Johns Hopkins University


The Brain in Action: Biomechanics of Head Rotation in Humans


Rapid rotation of the human head can lead to a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Repeated exposure to such an extreme event can potentially lead to a debilitating decline in brain function, a phenomenon now well-documented in football players. The full spectrum of ways in which biomechanics are related to brain function is still poorly understood. We present integrated research aimed at visualizing the motion of the brain in human volunteers and developing high-fidelity computational models of brain biomechanics.

This work developed a person-specific virtual head model enriched with the biomechanical response of brain tissues and white-matter fiber-substructure. Person-specific three-dimensional shearing motions of the brain obtained through a recently developed tagged MRI imaging technique are then used to validate the model by comparing the measured and predicted dynamic mechanical response of the brain. Results suggest that that the rotational dynamics of the brain have a timescale of approximately 100 msec as determined by the shearing wave speeds, and thus the injuries associated with rotational accelerations likely occur over these timescales. After validation using the live human subject data, the head model is used to simulate a real life scenario that resulted in a concussive injury. The ability of the model to provide insights into the degree and likely locations of injury is demonstrated.


Dr. Ganpule is a postdoctoral fellow at the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Ganpule’s broad research interest pertain to understanding dynamic phenomena in mechanical and biological systems. His current research is focused on understanding mechanics of head trauma.