Richard Kent

Richard KentRichard Kent
Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Emergency Medicine | 434.297.8033

Dr. Kent is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia and for many years he was also the Deputy Director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics.  He has worked in the field of automobile safety for 25 years.  He has published over 200 peer-reviewed books, chapters, and articles in the field and has formally mentored over 70 graduate student theses and dissertations.  His most prominent contributions are focused on the biomechanical and injury characterization of the trunk and on the effects of aging on injury tolerance and dynamic loading response.  His studies of aging have included biomechanical testing of ATDs, PMHS, and physiological models; computational modeling; and the analysis of real world data at both the case-study level and integrated within databases.  He was Principal Investigator for the GHBMC Thorax and Upper Extremity Center of Expertise, which was responsible for the complete development of one of the world’s most anatomically detailed thorax finite element models.  Recently, Dr. Kent has focused on the protection of elite athletes, with particular interest on injuries of the foot and ankle and the design of athletic shoes and surfaces for the mitigation of injury risk.  Dr. Kent is a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and serves on the Stapp Advisory Committee.


  • PhD, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah

Research Interests

  • Restraint performance and optimization for impact mitigation
  • Automobile safety system design and assessment
  • Occupant kinematics and injury mechanisms in automobile crashes
  • Experimental design and development of test and analysis methods
  • Injury biomechanics, esp. thoracic trauma and tolerance changes associated with aging and pediatric development
  • Sports-related injury risk/performance trade-offs, esp. related to lower extremity injury and shoe/turf interaction mechanics
  • Characterization of biological materials and structures

Awards & Affiliations

  • Fellow, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine
  • Fellow, Society of Automotive Engineers
  • Stapp Advisory Committee
  • Award of Merit, AAAM
  • SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award
  • John Paul Stapp Award
  • Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award
  • J. Merkin Service Award
  • Technology Review’s TR100

Selected Publications

  • Development of an injury risk function for first metatarsophalangeal joint sprains. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2013; 45(11):2144-50.
  • Development and assessment of a device and method for studying the mechanical interactions between shoes and playing surfaces in-situ at loads and rates generated by elite athletes. Sports Biomechanics. 2012; 11(3):414-429.
  • Characterization of the centroidal geometry of human ribs. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. 2013; 135(11) doi: 10.1115/1.4025329.
  • Effect of intercostal muscle and costovertebral joint material properties on human ribcage stiffness and kinematics. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering. 2015; 18(5): 556-570. DOI: 10.1080/10255842.2013.820718.
  • Occupant kinematics and shoulder belt retention in far-side lateral and oblique collisions: a parametric study. Stapp Car Crash Journal. 2013; 57:343-385.
    For more publications see: Google Scholar

Other Interests

  • Golf, Tennis, Travel