Award Winners

Borelli Award: Stephen P. Messier, PhD

Dr. Messier is Professor and Director of the J.B Snow Biomechanics Laboratory at Wake Forest University. He has been at Wake Forest for 39 years and has 29 years of experience in clinical trials research specifically related to knee osteoarthritis (OA). His OA research team is well-known for its work on the effects of exercise and weight loss on gait, strength, function, and pain in knee OA. He was the co-principal investigator of the Fitness Arthritis in Seniors Trial (FAST), the principal investigator of the Arthritis Diet and Activity Promotion Trial (ADAPT), the Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis (IDEA) study, and the just completed Strength Training for Arthritis Trial (START). Funding for each of these studies was with grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His work on the ADAPT trial was voted one of the top ten advances in arthritis research for the year 2004 by the Arthritis Foundation.

Currently, Dr. Messier is the principal investigator of two NIH funded studies, the multi-center Weight loss and Exercise for Communities with Arthritis in North Carolina (WE-CAN) trial, and The Osteoarthritis Prevention Study (TOPS). WE-CAN recruited 823 overweight and obese older adults with knee OA in three North Carolina communities to determine if the groundbreaking results achieved in the IDEA trial can be translated to real-world community settings. This phase 3 pragmatic trial is a collaboration with investigators from the University of North Carolina, Brigham and Women’s Hospital- Harvard Medical School, East Carolina University, and the University of Sydney. TOPS is a planning grant to prepare for an international, multi-center trial to prevent the onset of knee OA with diet and exercise in people at risk for the disease.

Dr. Messier is also the director of the Wake Forest Runners’ Clinic that uses the skills of physical therapists, orthopaedic surgeons, health psychologists, biostatisticians, and biomechanists to determine the causes of overuse injuries in runners.  Currently, he is the principal investigator of The Runners And Injury Longitudinal Study (TRAILS): Injury Recovery, and the Strength Training And Runners’ Study (STARS), both which are funded by the United States Army.

Jim Hay Memorial Award: Antonie van den Bogert, PhD

Antonie J. (Ton) van den Bogert currently holds the Parker-Hannifin Endowed Chair in Human Motion and Control in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Cleveland State University.  He has previously been on the faculty at the University of Calgary (1993-1998) and the Cleveland Clinic (1998-2010). 

His academic degrees are from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands), including a BS/MS degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics, and a PhD degree in Veterinary Science for work on locomotion in horses.

For most of his career, Ton has worked on computational modeling of human movement and computer-aided movement analysis, with applications in rehabilitation, sports, and animation. His work has been supported by numerous federal grants and contracts with industry. Ton has served as President of the International Society of Biomechanics and since 1988 has been moderator of Biomch-L, an online discussion forum on human and animal movement science. He has published over 150 journal articles and book chapters and holds four patents in the area of rehabilitation technology. Notable awards are the Sports Injury Research Award of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (2004) and a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2005). He is a Fellow of the International Society of Biomechanics and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Current research interests are: control of powered prosthetic and orthotic devices, predictive simulation for design of sports equipment and assistive devices, and novel methods for analysis of human movement.

Goel Award for Translational Research in Biomechanics: Shorya Awtar, ScD

Shorya Awtar, Sc.D., is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and the inventor, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of FlexDex Surgical. His research interests include machine design, compliant mechanisms, parallel kinematics, human-machine biomechanical interfaces, mechatronics, actuators, flexible system dynamics and controls, and precision engineering. Application areas include affordable medical devices for minimally invasive surgery, precision motion stages for semiconductor metrology, motion sickness mitigation in autonomous vehicles, rehab robotics, modular prostheses, and micro-electromechanical systems. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Prof. Awtar worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology and the General Electric Global Research Center. He earned his engineering degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (B.Tech. 1998), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (M.S. 2000), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sc.D. 2004). Prof. Awtar has started two companies, FlexDex Surgical and HIPERNAP, to commercialize the technologies developed in his research lab. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed conferences and journal articles and has three-dozen inventions that are either patented or patent-pending. He has received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Leonardo daVinci Award and Thomas A. Edison Patent Award, the General Motors Young Investigator Award, multiple best paper awards, and multiple R&D100 Awards for his research, innovations, technology transfer, and societal impact. Prof. Awtar is a Fellow of the ASME. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses as well as professional tutorials in machine design, mechanism design, and mechatronic systems. He actively works with the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum to create educational exhibits for K-12 children.

Founders’ Award: Tamara Reid Bush, PhD

Dr. Tamara Reid Bush currently holds the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU) with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Bioengineering. She also holds the position of Faculty Excellence Advocate in the College. Broadly, Dr. Bush’s area of research is whole-body biomechanics. She conducts in-vivo experimentation, methods development, and modeling to better understand clinically motivated. More specifically, her research includes soft tissue mechanics, hand function, prosthetics and design for persons with disabilities. Her work has been funded by NIH, NSF, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and several companies from multiple industries. She has 39 journal publications, 91 conference papers/abstracts and 28 invited research talks. Dr. Bush is a Fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, two-time recipient of the Withrow Teaching Award and most recently received MSU’s Inspirational Woman Award for Professional Achievement. She has performed a significant amount of service in her discipline including Associate Editor for the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, Track Chair for the World Congress on Biomechanics (Rehabilitation, Injury & Sport) and served on the Executive Board of the American Society of Biomechanics in the position of Treasurer.

Dr. Bush has a passion for mentoring students. Since mechanical engineering has one of the lowest percentages of women (13%), an area of focus for her has been mentoring undergraduate women.  Annually, Dr. Bush hosts an event called “Shoppin’ with the Ladies” which is a night in the machine shop. She works with MSU’s Society of Women Engineers to assemble a team of senior level female students, along with herself, and teaches students how to use the lathe, mill, band saw and drill press. Additionally, she has mentored over 58 undergraduates and over 41 graduate students (primary advisor for 18 of them). Dr. Bush has established a program within her lab where she helps her graduate students learn how to mentor – each graduate student is assigned at least one undergraduate and works with them on research, presentations, and lab reports.

Dr. Bush is committed to mentoring a diverse research group. Diversity in her research group helps creativity and enriches her lab environment. Even though Dr. Bush is in Mechanical Engineering, her students come from many disciplines including – material science, bioengineering, biosystems, kinesiology, orthotic/prosthetics and medicine. Dr. Bush’s research group includes domestic and international students, men and women, and underrepresented students. By having a diverse group, the perspectives and knowledge of those in her group are expanded leading to unique solutions and research ideas. 

Jean Landa Pytel Award for Diversity Mentorship in Biomechanics: Jill McNitt-Gray, PhD

Jill L. McNitt-Gray, Ph.D. is a Gabilan Distinguished Professor in Science and Engineering and she mentors students the Departments of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. She is also the Director of the USC Biomechanics Research Laboratory and was the founding director of a cross-cutting interdisciplinary graduate program in biological sciences at USC. In 2016, she received the Jim Hay Memorial Award from ASB, recognizing the originality, quality, and depth of her biomechanics research that addresses fundamental research questions in sport and exercise. Dr. McNitt-Gray’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the neuromuscular control and dynamics of human movements and aims to identify risk factors and develop effective methods in rehabilitation engineering and performance enhancement for individuals with various ability levels (clinical populations as well as elite athletes). She uses both experimental and dynamic modeling approaches to test research hypotheses specific to control priorities during physically demanding, well-practiced tasks. Her research has been funded by Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Veterans Administration, and national governing bodies of sport including the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee. Dr. McNitt-Gray earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics and statistics with a certification in coaching from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1980. After working in load research and load management for the American Electric Power Service Corporation, she returned to graduate school at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1985, she earned her master’s degree in biomechanics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the mentorship of Barney LeVeau PT PhD and was graduate assistant coach of the Carolina Women’s Gymnastics team. Dr. McNitt-Gray received her doctoral degree in biomechanics from Penn State in 1989, under the mentorship of Jean Landa Pytel, Richard Nelson, and Peter Cavanagh. Dr. McNitt-Gray has served on the ASB membership committee from 1989-92, on the ASB Executive Board as Education Chair (1993-95), Program Chair (2002), and as President (2009-2012). Dr. McNitt-Gray also served as a member of the Executive Council of the ISB from 2001 to 2007 and served as the ISB Liaison to Affiliated and Economically Developing Societies. Dr. McNitt-Gray has received the USC Mellon Culture of Mentoring Award for her work with the Women in Science and Engineering program (WiSE) and a USC Mellon Mentoring award for her mentoring of undergraduate students. The Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee recognized her research team’s work in the physical sciences with the Prince Alexandre de Merode Award. She has served as a biomechanist for the International Olympic Committee, the US Olympic Committee, multiple National Governing Bodies of Sport, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association and in 2016 received the Dr. C. Harmon Brown Award from USA Track and Field for translating science into practice.  Dr. McNitt-Gray is also actively involved in translation of science into the practice and outreach programs that provide informal educational experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields and a founding member of the National Biomechanics Day (NBD) Organizing Committee. Her innovative approaches to research and education have been recognized by the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Young Scientist Pre-Doctoral Award: Joshua Leonardis, PhD

Josh Leonardis recently graduated with his Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Michigan, where he conducted research in the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Imaging Laboratory. His research is focused on identifying the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the shoulder morbidity commonly experienced by breast cancer patients after post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. He utilizes a holistic approach to identify these mechanisms, including global measures of shoulder joint integrity, local measures of upper extremity muscle quality and function, and patient-reported measures of physical and psychosocial well-being. His research has broad clinical implications that will help ensure breast cancer patients live fulfilling lives post-cancer. He earned his M.S. from East Carolina University where he performed research in The Biomechanics Lab, and a B.S. from Salisbury University.

Young Scientist Post-Doctoral Award: Eni Halilaj, PhD

Eni Halilaj, PhD is an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering, with joint appointments in Biomedical Engineering and the Robotics Institute, at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. She also holds an appointment in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Eni obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Brown University. Before joining Carnegie Mellon in 2018, she was a distinguished postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Mobilize Center—an NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Center. She currently directs the CMU Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Lab, an interdisciplinary group of mechanical engineers, bioengineers, and computer scientists seeking to advance precision rehabilitation in orthopaedics. Their experimental, computational, and clinical research, primarily on osteoarthritis, integrates wearable technologies, medical imaging, and machine learning.

Junior Faculty Research Award: Michael Harris, PhD

This award will support the project titled “The Biomechanical Consequences of Femoral Version Deformity and Surgical Correction in Patients with Hip Dysplasia”

Research Travel Grant: Jessica Allen, PhD

This award will support collaboration between Dr. Jessica Allen of West Virginia University and Dr. Jason Franz at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University to investigate neuromuscular control of older adults with a history of falls.

2020 ASB Graduate Student Grant-in-Aid Award Winners:

Sidney Baudendistel, University of Florida (Advisor: Chris Hass, PhD)

Hillary Holmes, Auburn University (Advisor: Jamie Roper, PhD)

Kristen Jakubowski, Northwestern University (Advisor: Sabrina Lee, PhD)

Constantine Nicolozakes, Northwestern University (Advisor: Eric Perreault, PhD)

Sumire Sato, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Advisor: Julia Choi, PhD)

Travel Award Winners:

Anahita Qashqai, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Alyssa Schnorenberg, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Allison Hoffee, Montana State University

Myrriah Laine Dyreson, Concordia University St. Paul

Kristen Jakubowski, Northwestern University

Erica Hedrick, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Sumire Sato, University of Massachusetts

Reed Gurchiek, University of Vermont

Joshua Pataky, Penn State University

Kazandra Rodriguez, University of Michigan

Sarah Brinkerhoff, Auburn University

Whitney Wolff, University of Michigan

Richard Pimentel, University of North Carolina

Malaka (Graci) Finco, University of North Texas Health Science Center

Michael Christensen, University of Delaware

Alexander Peebles, Virginia Tech

Brian Diefenbach, East Carolina University

Zachary Ripic, University of Miami

Nicole Arnold, Michigan State University

Tanetta L. Curenton, Cleveland State University

Farahnaz Fallahtafti, University of Nebraska Omaha

Sujata Khandare, Pennsylvania State University

Archana Lamsal, Michigan State University

Jonaz Moreno Jaramillo, University of Massachusetts

Sarah Catherine Moudy, PhD, University of North Texas Health Science Center

Kenechukwu Okoye, Ohio State University