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NFL HeadHealthTECH Challenge - Oversight Committee

Through project selection and review, and periodic assessment of the program, the Oversight Committee ensures the quality of projects and the sustainability of the Partnership. The independent Oversight Committee, chaired by Dr. Barry Myers, includes members from Duke as well as industry and venture capital.


Cynthia Bir, PhD

Chair and Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering at Wayne State University

Geoffrey T. Manley, MD, PhD

Chief of Neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

Steve Moore

Vice President of Operations at Hydro Massage

Barry Myers, MD, PhD, MBA

Director of Innovation, Duke CTSI; Coulter Program Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University and a consultant to the NFLPA

Thom Parks

Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Bell Sports, Inc.

Frank A. Pintar, PhD

Professor and Founding Chair, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University

Beth A. Winkelstein, PhD

Professor, BE and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, SEAS Research focuses: Orthopaedic Bioengineering, Injury Biomechanics, Experimental Neuroscience

Christopher Withnall

Senior Engineer, Biokinetics and Associates Ltd.

Full Biographies


Cynthia Bir, PhD

Chair and Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wayne State University

DR. CYNTHIA BIR IS CHAIR AND PROFESSOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING AT WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY. She has extensive research experience in the area of human injury tolerances. Her research interests include sports injury biomechanics, ballistic impacts, blast injury, and forensic biomechanics. She has studied the effects of impacts to all regions of the body and is known world-wide for her work in this area. Dr. Bir currently has funding for various research efforts in the area of injury biomechanics. Investigating the effects of ballistic impacts to the human body, research is currently being conducted on Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT) and the assessment of personnel protective gear. She also has funding to assess stab/slash wounds to correctional officers, the effects of Tasers on vulnerable populations, and how body armor affects the core body temperature of the end users. She has been funded by the Department of Defense to study both blast neurotrauma and lower extremity injury research. Her sports related research includes the development of a new thoracic surrogate to evaluate chest protectors, a cumulative concussion model and real-time data collection of head impacts in boxing. Dr. Bir has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal papers and over 90 abstracts and conference papers. She has served as an invited guest at several conferences both here in the United States and abroad. Besides being a professor at Wayne State University, Dr. Bir is currently the Chair for the Department of Biomedical Engineering. In addition, she is active with the ASTM F08 and E54 groups chairing both task groups and working groups. Dr. Bir has been asked to present to various groups including the Youth in Engineering and Science (YES) Expo, TED-Ed and at the World Science Festival. She was also selected as a Detroit Crain's Business Daily, Women to Watch in 2008. She was inducted as an AIMBE Fellow in 2014.


Geoffrey T. Manley, MD, PhD

Chief of Neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

GEOFFREY T. MANLEY, MD, PhD IS THE CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He is a trauma neurosurgeon with clinical interests in brain injury, spinal cord injury and neurocritical critical care. His translational research interests span from the laboratory to the bedside. Dr. Manley is a graduate of the Medical Scientist Training Program at Cornell University Medical College, where he earned his medical degree as well as his doctorate degree in Neuroscience. He completed his residency in Neurosurgery at UCSF and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Biophysics. Dr. Manley is also a faculty member of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences and the UCSF Center for Clinical and Translational Informatics. Dr. Manley is an internationally recognized expert in neurotrauma. He has published over 120 manuscripts that reflect a wide range of research interests from molecular aspects of brain injury to the clinical care of head trauma patients. He has helped to define new molecular mechanisms of injury to the nervous system that may lead to new treatments for these devastating injuries. He is also considered a leader in the rapidly growing field of advanced neuromonitoring and clinical informatics for critical care. His many honors include the General Motors Trauma Research Award and the Trauma Research Award from the American College of Surgeons. He has served as a Consultant for the Prehospital Guidelines Committee for the World Health Organization and on a number of committees for the National Institutes of Health.


Barry Myers, MD, PhD

Dr. Myers has been a member of the Duke faculty since 1991 and is currently Managing Director of Licensing and Ventures. His research examines the biomechanics of head and neck injury with the goal of injury prevention. Dr. Myers founded and directs the Coulter Foundation Translational Partnership Program at Duke that provides $1 MM in early stage funding and management to faculty health care innovations annually with a goal of licensing and creating new life science start-up companies. Dr. Myers is the Director of Emerging Programs in the Duke Translational Research Institute where he is responsible for the consult service that provides funding and project management support to faculty translational research projects in the Duke Medical Center. Within the Office of Licensing and Ventures, he manages IT, legal and works with faculty to facilitate transfer of their innovations into the marketplace. He also maintains an active consulting practice including the NFL and NASCAR while serving as an Executive-in-Residence at Pappas Ventures advising several start-up companies. Dr. Myers is considered by many as the preeminent researcher in his field worldwide, having over 100 manuscripts and publications on the subject. Among Dr. Myers many honors are the Stapp Award of Recognition, and the Isbrandt Award for automotive safety from the Society of Automotive Engineers. He is the six-time winner of the Stapp Award for research in impact biomechanics, more than any other individual, and also the Bertil Aldman award for impact biomechanics research. Dr. Myers has worked with all major organizations concerned with safety in the United States including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Because of his breadth of experience in injury prevention, Dr. Myers was appointed to the position of Senior Scientific Advisor to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control for two years. He has also consulted with most major automobile manufactures and automotive racing organizations worldwide. Dr. Myers is a Distinguished Professor at Duke University, having received the Bass Chair in recognition of his accomplishments in research and teaching. He is the faculty advisor to four student best graduate student paper competition winners at national meetings. He was responsible for the 2004 revision of the Pratt School of Engineering undergraduate curriculum. He has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He has also served as Senior Associate Dean for Industrial Partnerships and the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization in the Pratt School of Engineering.


Frank A. Pintar, PhD

Dr. Pintar is a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Marquette University, and Director of the Neuroscience Research Laboratories at the VA Medical Center. These laboratories occupy over 25,000 sq ft and employ eight PhD scientists and 22 staff for conduct of ongoing federally funded research projects. Over the years, Dr. Pintar has served as a research mentor to over 30 graduate students, post docs, residents, fellows, and junior faculty in the medical school and engineering school. Dr. Pintar has held numerous committee positions within the Medical College of Wisconsin including the chair of the Faculty Benefits committee. He has been active as a member of grant review teams (e.g., CDC, NIH, NIDRR) and other scientific organizations (e.g., Cervical Spine Research Society, Stapp Association) and received grant awards from NIH, VA, CDC, DOT, DoD, and foundations. He has authored more than 500 research publications including two books on head and neck trauma and over 290 peer-reviewed journal papers. He is one of the principal investigators of the US-DOT-NHTSA-sponsored MCW CIREN Center (six in the nation). Dr. Pintar conducts collaborative projects with the Injury Research Center through the departments of Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, and Trauma Surgery. He has also helped to mentor residents and fellows from Otolaryngology, Orthopedic Surgery, and Plastic Surgery. He has a secondary appointment in the department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy where he conducts collaborative projects and mentors basic science graduate students. Additionally, he participates as a faculty member of the Neuroscience Research Center. His current research interests include the biomechanics of brain and spinal cord injury, mechanics of spine surgical techniques, computer finite element modeling of the cervical spine, and motor vehicle crash trauma. He has received numerous awards and is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. He directs the only NHTSA-certified full-scale crashworthiness laboratory in an academic setting in the world, sled lab, biomechanics lab, stem cell lab, neurobiology lab, tissue/culture lab, and neurohistology lab.


Beth A. Winkelstein, PhD

Professor of Bioengineering and Neurosurgery, and Vice Provost for Education University of Pennsylvania

BETH WINKELSTEIN, PhD IS A PROFESSOR OF BIOENGINEERING AND NEUROSURGERY at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her BSE in Bioengineering from Penn and earned a PhD in BME from Duke focused on neck injury biomechanics. She joined Penn's faculty in 2002 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship in the neuroimmunology of pain in Anesthesiology & Pharmacology at Dartmouth. Dr. Winkelstein's lab studies the biomechanical mechanisms of painful spine and joint injuries, and is defining the pathophysiological cellular mechanisms driving chronic pain, mechanotransduction of pain, and potential diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for these disorders. Her group has pioneered several preclinical models of painful tissue injuries, which are the first injury models with clinically-relevant symptoms. Her group implements rigorous engineering analyses in these in vivo systems to define biomechanical metrics and relate them to complicated neuronal plasticity responses throughout the nervous system. Her group is developing new imaging approaches to understand subfailure micro- and macro-scale biomechanical tissue responses, and has expanded that work to include functional imaging to identify cellular activation networks in the brain and spinal cord. She funds her lab through grants from the Whitaker Foundation, NSF, NHTSA, CDC, NIH (NINDS, NIAMS, NIBIB, NCCIH), CSRS, DOD, OMSF, and several industry partners. She has published over 115 peer-reviewed papers, 16 book chapters and the book Orthopaedic Biomechanics, and holds a patent. Dr. Winkelstein is a Fellow of the BMES and ASME, and was elected to AIMBE. She was awarded a Whitaker Young Investigator Award, NIH Career Award, NSF-CAREER Award, the ASME Fung Young Investigator Award for the most promising young Bioengineer, and the ASME Mow Medal for contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership and mentorship. Dr. Winkelstein has served as primary research mentor for 36 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and over 60 undergraduates. She serves on the Editorial Board for Spine and serves as the Co-Editor of the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering since 2012. She has served as the Bioengineering Graduate Group Chair and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Penn, and has been the faculty adviser for Penn's BMES chapter since 2008. She has also served as the faculty adviser for Penn's student SWE chapter. She is on the Board of Directors of the BMES is actively involved in the ASME-SBC, the World Congress of Biomechanics, and several clinical meetings.