Cluster member Lyndia Wu along with co-investigators Naznin Virji-Babul and Noah Silverberg have been awared a New Frontiers in Research Fund which supports international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-risk research (more info here) for their project aimed at examining the brains response to head impacts. Dr. Wu leads the Sensing in Biomechanical Processes Lab (SimPL) in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UBC. SimPL develops advanced sensing and data analytics techniques to study fundamental biomechanical processes with healthcare applications. (Lab website: simpl.mech.ubc.ca)
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), commonly referred to as concussion, is a major public health concern, with 42 million (~0.6%) of the world’s population clinically diagnosed with concussions annually. Even more alarmingly, subconcussive head impacts (i.e. without clinically diagnosed concussion) may also cause brain changes, since the accumulation of these impacts are shown to be associated with long-term neurodegeneration. This is a pressing health issue to be addressed, especially for children and youth (with developing brains) in contact sports sustaining repeated head impacts. Here we propose to continuously monitor head impact accelerations and brain electrophysiology in ice hockey players using wearable head impact sensors and electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors.
The team will analyze the acute and cumulative EEG response to head impacts, and compare the brain responses/symptoms resulting from head impact exposure between male and female players. This is a novel investigation of the cumulative effects of subconcussive head impacts incorporating sex and gender-based analyses with both objective measurements and subjective reports. The rich field data will enable new perspectives on brain injury mechanisms and may open new avenues of collaborative mTBI research spanning biomechanical engineering, neurophysiology, and sports psychology. The wearable sensors designed and employed in this research have the potential to be further developed into real-time continuous monitors of impact exposure and cumulative brain trauma on the field. Findings in sex and gender-based analyses may lead to different mTBI management strategies for male and female players.
POST DOC OPPORTUNITY:
Lyndia and her team are currently recruiting a postdoctoral researcher to assist in this work. Candidates with background in biomedical or mechanical engineering and expertise in instrumentation are preferred. Knowledge and experience in injury biomechanics, wearable sensing, or EEG would be a plus. Candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Wu at email@example.com.