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Pamela VandeVord, Ph.D.

N. Waldo Harrison Professor
Genderless Silhouette
447 Kelly Hall
325 Stanger St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Research Areas

  • Biomechanics
  • Nanobioengineering
  • Neuroengineering
  • Tissue engineering

Research Interests

My brain injury research and educational platforms focus on the complex mechanisms of injury to the brain, with a thrust to understand the persistent neurobehavioral and neuropathological consequences of this traumatic event. For the past 16 years, I have been studying the fundamental questions concerning the mode of energy transfer to the brain during traumatic injuries as well as the consequent damage or disruptive mechanisms at the cellular and molecular levels.

My group investigates the molecular changes that occur within cells and their environment which lead to dysfunction. Our lab strives to use ‘condition-appropriate’ injury devices that mimic the injury being investigated. Correlation of the injury event to the temporal effects seen at the cellular level can only be accurate when the mode of injury is realistic to human conditions. Our work strives to provide mechanistic insight for outcomes such as elevated anxiety, cognitive deficits, and fear triggered by the traumatic event.

Collectively, these efforts will help the community understand how the brain becomes injured from traumatic events, and we work to provide a platform to design novel strategies to protect against, as well as identify and treat the injury, and alleviate the negative behavioral outcomes.


  • Wayne State University: Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, 2002 
  • Wayne State University: M.S., Biomedical Sciences, 1996 
  • Michigan State University: B.S., Physiology, 1992

Awards, Honors, and Service

  • 2020  Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society
  • 2020  Virginia Tech Engineering Deans Award for Excellence in Service
  • 2017 Fellow, The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) 
  • 2015 Virginia Tech Engineering Dean’s Research Excellence Award 
  • 2012 Virginia Tech Engineering Faculty Fellow Award 
  • 2011 Vanguard Award Recipient: Detroit Young Professionals 
  • 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

Recent Publications

Dickerson M, Bailey ZS, Murphy SJ, Urban MJ, VandeVord PJ.  Glial activation in the thalamus contributes to vestibulomotor deficits following blast-induced neurotrauma. Frontiers of Neurology, 2020

Hlavac N, VandeVord PJ.  Astrocyte Mechano-Activation by High Rate Overpressure Involves Alterations in Structural and Junctional Proteins.  Frontiers of Neurology, 2019, Feb 22;10:99. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00099.

Hubbard WB, Lashof-Sullivan M, Greenberg S, Norris C, Eck J, Lavik, VandeVord P. Hemostatic nanoparticles increase survival, mitigate neuropathology and alleviate anxiety in a rodent blast trauma model. Scientific Reports; 2018, Jul 13;8(1):10622.

Fievisohn E, Bailey Z, Guettler A, VandeVord P.  Primary Blast Brain Injury Mechanisms: Current Knowledge, Limitations, and Future Directions. J Biomech Eng. Feb 1; 2018, 140(2).

Waters M, VandeVord P, VanDyke M. Keratin biomaterials augment anti-inflammatory macrophage phenotype in vitro. Acta Biomater; 2018, Jan 15;66:213-223.

VandeVord PJ, Leonardi AD, Ritzel D. Bridging the Gap of Standardized Animals Models for Blast Neurotrauma: Methodology for Appropriate Experimental Testing. Methods Mol Biol; 2016, 1462:101-18

Sajja VS, Hubbard WB, Ghoddoussi F, Hall CS, Galloway M, VandeVord PJ. Enduring deficits in memory and neuronal pathology after blast-induced traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports; 2015, Nov 5;5: 15075.

Bailey ZS, Grinter MB, De La Torre Campos D, VandeVord PJ. Blast induced neurotrauma causes overpressure dependent changes to the DNA methylation equilibrium. 2015, Neurosci Lett: 29;604:119-123

Sajja VS, Hubbard WB, Ghoddoussi F, Hall CS, Galloway M, VandeVord PJ. Enduring deficits in memory and neuronal pathology after blast-induced traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports: 2015, Nov 5;5:15075. doi: 10.1038/srep15075

Hubbard WB, Lashof-Sullivan MM, Lavik E, VandeVord PJ. Steroid-Loaded Hemostatic Nanoparticles Combat Lung Injury after Blast Trauma. ACS Macro Letters: 2015, 4;4:387-391