Matthew B. Panzer

Matthew PanzerMatthew B. Panzer
Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering | 434.297.8062

Dr. Panzer is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of Virginia, and head of the computational research group at the Center for Applied Biomechanics (CAB). He originally started at the CAB in 2012 as a Research Scientist and joined his colleagues on the MAE faculty in 2014. Dr. Panzer’s research focus is on using computational mechanics to model and predict the biomechanics of injury following an impact. This includes developing and using nonlinear finite element and multibody models to simulate high-rate events such as sport impact, automotive crashes, and military blasts. He is currently the principal investigator for two Centers of Expertise (Thorax and the Upper Extremities, and Pelvis and Lower Extremities) for the development of the GHBMC 5th percentile female model, which is a state-of-the-art finite element model of the human body. Dr. Panzer is also the lead developer and coordinator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) THOR Dummy finite element model, a computational tool based on the next generation crash test dummy. Applications of this research include the study of traumatic brain injury (both blast and impact), pedestrian impact, lower extremity injury, and the development of injury mitigation systems (helmets, air bags, etc). Dr. Panzer’s research also includes experimental mechanics for high-rate material characterization and constitutive model development of nonlinear, viscoelastic materials such as biological tissue and energy-absorbing foams. These material models are often used to increase the fidelity of human body models and/or improve the design of personnel protective equipment. Originally from southwestern Ontario, Canada, Dr. Panzer now lives in Charlottesville with his wife and two young daughters.


  • PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Duke University
  • MASc, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • BASc, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo

Research Interests

  • Computational mechanics (finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics)
  • Impact and injury biomechanics
  • Traumatic brain injury from blunt and blast impact
  • Dynamic material characterization and constitutive model development
  • Development and simulation of human body models for injury assessment
  • Development and optimization of anthropomorphic test devices (dummies)
  • Shock wave and blast dynamics, shock tube and blast experimental design
  • Personal protective equipment evaluation and design


  • Sigma Xi (Full member)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (Early Career member)
  • Society of Automotive Engineers (Member)
  • US Association for Computational Mechanics (Member)
  • International Association for Computational Mechanics (Member)
  • Frontiers of Biomechanics (Associate Editor)


  • James McElhaney Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • University of Waterloo Presidents Scholarship
  • Arthur F. Church Mechanical Engineering Scholarship

Selected Publications

  • Scaling in Neurotrauma: How Do We Apply Animal Experiments to People? Experimental Neurology. 2014; 261: 120-126.
  • A Multiscale Approach to Blast Neurotrauma Modeling: Part I: Development of Novel Test Devices in In Vivo and In Vitro Blast Injury Models. Frontiers of Neurotrauma. 2012; 3:46, 1-11.
  • Development of a Finite Element Model for Blast Brain Injury and the Effects of CSF Cavitation. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 2012; 40(7), 1530-1544.
  • Primary Blast Survival and Injury Risk Assessment for Repeated Blast Exposures. Journal of Trauma. 2012; 72(2): 454-466.
  • Brain Injuries from Blast. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 2012; 40(1): 185-202.
    For more publications see: Google Scholar | ResearchGate

Other Interests

  • Family, Travel, Sports (Golf, Hockey, Football), Home Improvement