Matthew Kuriakose

Research Area
Physical and biochemical mechanisms of primary blast-induced traumatic brain injury.

Fifth Year PhD student

Research Summary
My time in CIBM3 has afforded me an opportunity to work on several different projects focusing on different aspects of blast induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI). My early work in the lab focused on the modular elements of our injury device, a compressed-gas- driven shock tube, and how to adjust shock tube configuration in order to match the pressure-time profiles of a myriad of different explosives at variable weights and stand-off distances. This involved the theory of blast physics and a conceptual understanding of how a shock wave propagates and mechanically loads a specimen, both in the lab and on the field. This work culminated with a publication in PlosOne “Tailoring the blast exposure conditions in the shock tube for generating pure, primary shock waves: the end plate facilitates elimination of secondary loading of the specimen.”

Expanding on the mechanics of bTBI, I am currently looking to understand how the pure shock wave is able to cause brain injury. Several loading mechanisms have been hypothesized, but none have been conclusively proven with a field-validated experimental set-up, like the one available at NJIT. These resources have allowed me to focus on two loading pathways: cavitation and the thoracic injury mechanism. ​These projects are currently funded by the Office of Naval Research and the US Department of Defense. Throughout the course of my work, I’ve had opportunities to present my work for the Computational Cellular Biology of Blast and Combat Casualty Care Review Meeting (Arlington, TX 2016), the Military Operational Medicine Research Program In Progress Review (Fredrick, MD 2016), and the National Neurotrauma Society Symposium (Lexington, KY 2016). In an attempt to better understand these pathways, I have also been working to understand the biochemical sequelae of bTBI, specifically the injury cascade involving damage to the blood brain barrier and oxidative stress.

Illustration Description: Loading mechanisms of primary blast induced traumatic brain injury a) cavitation b) skull flexure c) direct transmission d) thoracic injury mechanism and e) linear/rotational acceleration

About Me
I received my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, as a member of the Albert Dorman Honors College. I hope to use my experience in this lab to make a salient impact in the field of blast induced neurotrauma, where there is still much to be discovered. More information is needed to develop therapeutic and preventative measures for these injuries and I aim to continue to educate and equip clinicians and legislators with the tools necessary to protect soldiers and civilians, domestically and abroad. This field attracts some of the brightest scientists around the world and I hope to position myself to inspire young minds to pursue the rich opportunities that biomedical research offers.

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