Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma teams with Center for Injury Biomechanics

Scott Gayzik & Dan Moreno

Sept. 1, 2009 – The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma teams with the Center for Injury Biomechanics

The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is dedicated to preventing and treating life-threatening injuries to children. Its goal is to save lives and to help kids affected by these injuries recover to lead a more normal life. Each year, serious injuries claim the lives of more than 12,000 children – more than all other causes combined. The work of the Institute addresses this situation through advocacy, education, prevention, research and rehabilitation. In founding the Institute in 2008, Richard and Judy Childress pledged money, time and energy to its cause, and they continue to work tirelessly for its mission.

The Institute works through a network of partners that includes the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, jointly established by Wake Forest University and Virginia Tech; the Pediatric Medical Device Institute; and the Center for Injury Biomechanics. To this network, the Childress Institute provides opportunities to evaluate and clinically test new devices that show promise for helping seriously injured children. As part of the Childress mission, the Institute is helping to speed the development of pediatric medical devices into tangible tools that benefit kids.

One ongoing research initiative in SBES and the Center for Injury Biomechanics, through a collaboration established with the CIPT, is to better understand the anatomical and physiological differences between adults and children affected by trauma. Kerry Danelson, a graduate student in the CIB and her team have quantified the shape differences between the pediatric and adult skull. This study demonstrated that a pediatric skull has a more rounded shape and an adult skull has a more elongated shape. These differences can then be integrated into existing injury prediction tools, such as computer models of the brain. These models contains the primary anatomic structures of the brain and can be used to predict possible injuries.

Using the research conducted, these models can be scaled to the correct size and shape of a newborn. When these changes are implemented and a simulation is conducted, the results show a difference in the location of high strain elements in the brain. Areas of high strain in the computer model can be indicative of areas of potential injury. Further research into this area will refine the computer model to more accurately represent the material properties of the pediatric brain and skull. This scaled model can be used in many safety applications, by providing injury prediction for safety system design for child seats, restraints, and air bags.

Collaborations with SBES through the Center for Injury Biomechanics and other researchers in SBES will help to ensure the success of the CIPT as it forms more partnerships and accomplishes its mission. More info at


674 from Heart Disease
1,117 from Birth Defects
1,930 from Cancer
12,399 from Trauma