Research Faculty: Cynthia Bir, PhD

Cynthia Bir, PhD

Cynthia Bir, PhD
Title: Director, Center for Trauma, Violence and Injury Prevention
Academic Rank: Professor, Keck School of Medicine

Dr. Cynthia A. Bir is a Professor in the Emergency Department at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. 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, her research includes 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 50 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 the University of Southern California, Dr. Bir is currently serving as a member on the NATO Human Factors and Medicine Panel (HFM 198) for Improvised Explosive Devices and is an invited guest for the International Vehicle Security Advisory Group (IVSAG).  She has served as a subject matter expert for both the LCG9 Blunt Trauma Group for NATO and the Blast Injury Prevention Standards Recommendation for MRMC.

Dr. Bir has been asked to present to various groups including the Youth in Engineering and Science (YES) Expo in Detroit and at the World Science Festival in New York City. She has given a TEDYouth talk as well as served on a panel at The Seminar. She was selected as a Detroit Crain’s Business Daily, Women to Watch in 2008 and was recently inducted as a fellow into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.  Dr. Bir currently serves as lead scientist for the TV production Sport Science (ESPN), where she has won two National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Sports Emmy Awards.   She has also been seen on Fight Science (National Geographic), Curiosity-Plane Crash (Discovery Channel), Stan Lee Superhumans (History Channel) and The Indestructibles (National Geographic).

Learn about the Bir Lab

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