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Wayne State University Team Receives Automotive Safety Engineering Award

WARRENDALE, Pa., Oct. 21, 2008 - A student and faculty team from Wayne State University in Detroit is the recipient of SAE International's Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award.  The team was presented the award at the 2008 Government/Industry Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The Isbrandt Award, established in 1975, recognizes the authors delivering the most outstanding paper at an SAE International meeting on the subject of automotive safety engineering.  It honors 1967 SAE President Ralph Isbrandt, who, during his 45-year automotive career, provided a constant inspiration to young engineers in the field of mobility engineering.

This award is funded through the SAE Foundation.  In addition to supporting the awards, recognition and scholarship programs of SAE International, the SAE Foundation develops and funds programs and incentives that foster student interest in engineering, scientific and technical education.

The following recipients are recognized for co-authoring the paper, "Biomechanical Investigation of Thoracolumbar Spine Fractures in Indianapolis-type Racing Car Drivers during Frontal Impacts" (SAE paper 2006-01-3633). In the paper, the authors sought to provide a better understanding of driver kinematics, injury mechanisms and spinal loads that cause thoracolumbar spinal fractures.

About the recipients:  


Tara Troxel-Amenson
Troxel-Amenson is a graduate of Wayne State University , where she earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering.  While there, she studied transportation-related trauma biomechanics with a focus on motorsports and was involved with numerous studies investigating head and neck restraint devices, five- and six-point restraint systems, ear accelerometers and seatbelt use/misuse in passenger cars.

Troxel-Amenson also holds a bachelor’s in sports medicine from Colorado State University , a master’s of public health from the Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health/Medical University of Ohio, and a master’s of biomedical engineering from Wayne State University . She resides in Ferndale, Mich.

Paul Begeman
Begeman joined the staff of the Bioengineering Center at Wayne State University in 1978. At Wayne State , he has contributed to automobile and racecar safety tolerance limits, particularly in human extremities and the neck. His work has helped set standards for test dummy design and restraint system development.

Begeman earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Wayne State University . He resides in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Michele J. Grimm
Grimm is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering at Wayne State University . She is also an associate professor of biomedical engineering and former associate chair of that department.

Grimm received a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering and engineering mechanics from The Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania . She resides in Canton, Mich.

John W. Melvin
Melvin, a 1998 retiree of General Motors, is an independent consultant on the biomechanics of crash injury and racecar driver crash protection. He also is an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at Wayne State University . Melvin spent the early part of his career as a research engineer and associate professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. He then worked at General Motors Research Laboratories as a Senior Staff Research Engineer until his retirement.

Melvin received bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois . He resides in Ann Arbor, Mich.

For more information on the authors, please contact David Reich at Wayne State University ,

For more information on SAE International's Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award, please contact