University Distinguished Professor Stefan Duma has been named interim head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM) in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, effective Sept. 1. 

It’s familiar ground for Duma, who joined Virginia Tech in 2000 and served as head of BEAM in its early stages as a department, from 2009-16. During that time, he oversaw the merger of two departments, grew research dollars, increased teaching capacity, and launched the department’s full degree program. Duma succeeds Jennifer Wayne, who has served in the role since August  2019.

Duma will continue to serve as director of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences, a research investment institute facilitating interdisciplinary research with key programs in drone research, quantum information science and engineering, cybersecurity, and materials science and engineering. 

A member of the faculty of Virginia Tech for over 20 years, Duma has a robust career dedicated to research in injury biomechanics. His work in collaboration with Steve Rowson helped establish the Helmet Lab, resulting in the increased safety of helmet wearers from cyclists to pee wee football players to military personnel. Earlier this year, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors honored him with the title of University Distinguished Professor, the university’s highest faculty rank.

“Stefan has a long history with, and has been a great champion for, BEAM," said Julie Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. "We appreciate him taking on this role in addition to his leadership of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences. His experience as a department head and campus leader, leadership in research, and dedication to the department make him the right interim leader as the BEAM department plans for the future.”

Among his professional achievements, Duma has:

  • Attracted over $55 million in extramural funding
  • Authored 567 scholarly publications
  • Earned more than 13,000 citations
  • Established the university’s Center for Injury Biomechanics
  • Designed a 20,000-square-foot crash lab — the largest of its kind in any academic setting in the world — in partnership with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

In addition, Duma was founding director of the university’s Center for Injury Biomechanics, one of the world’s largest injury biomechanics groups. 

Duma received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee, his master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia.


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