Dr. Devin Leahy’s research centers on mechanical characterization of complex materials through both physical experimentation and finite element (FE) analysis. Current foci are the FE modeling of biological tissues, and fiber-reinforced composites. Biological tissues of the cervical spine are being studied to better understand the consequences of neck injuries. Fiber-reinforced composites are being studied and developed to build helmets with energy-absorption properties more closely matched to impacts experienced in several athletic pursuits. Future applications of this research could also be used for improving crash protection in both automotive and aerospace safety structures.
Dr. Leahy studied and earned his BS in mechanical engineering at The Ohio State University and worked in the automotive industry for 10 years prior to joining the OBRL. Research focus at the OBRL was FE analysis of injury in the cervical spine, which he studied to complete his PhD. He then taught biomedical engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo prior to joining Fort Lewis College in 2013 as an Assistant Professor of Engineering. Dr. Leahy currently advises several undergraduate research and design projects, including multiple intercollegiate competitions governed by the Society of Automotive Engineers. He also has major roles overseeing the manufacturing and mechanical/materials testing laboratories at Fort Lewis College.
In his free time, Dr. Leahy enjoys travelling by land, sea, and air, predominately by hiking, skiing, motorcycling, rafting, fishing, and flying small aircraft.