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Frank Pintar_Academic Profile

Frank A. Pintar, PhD

Professor, Neurosurgery; Founding Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering


  • Zablocki VA Medical Center
    Neuroscience Research Labs – Research 151
    5000 W. National Ave.
    Milwaukee, WI 53295


Dr. Pintar is a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Marquette University, and Director of the Neuroscience Research Laboratories at the VA Medical Center. These laboratories occupy over 25,000 sq ft and employ eight PhD scientists and 22 staff for conduct of ongoing federally funded research projects.

Over the years, Dr. Pintar has served as a research mentor to over 30 graduate students, post docs, residents, fellows, and junior faculty in the medical school and engineering school. Dr. Pintar has held numerous committee positions within the Medical College of Wisconsin including the chair of the Faculty Benefits committee.

He has been active as a member of grant review teams (e.g., CDC, NIH, NIDRR) and other scientific organizations (e.g., Cervical Spine Research Society, Stapp Association) and received grant awards from NIH, VA, CDC, DOT, DoD, and foundations. He has authored more than 500 research publications including two books on head and neck trauma and over 290 peer-reviewed journal papers. He is one of the principal investigators of the US-DOT-NHTSA-sponsored MCW CIREN Center (six in the nation).

Dr. Pintar conducts collaborative projects with the Injury Research Center through the departments of Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, and Trauma Surgery. He has also helped to mentor residents and fellows from Otolaryngology, Orthopedic Surgery, and Plastic Surgery. He has a secondary appointment in the department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy where he conducts collaborative projects and mentors basic science graduate students. Additionally, he participates as a faculty member of the Neuroscience Research Center.

His current research interests include the biomechanics of brain and spinal cord injury, mechanics of spine surgical techniques, computer finite element modeling of the cervical spine, and motor vehicle crash trauma. He has received numerous awards and is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.

He directs the only NHTSA-certified full-scale crashworthiness laboratory in an academic setting in the world, sled lab, biomechanics lab, stem cell lab, neurobiology lab, tissue/culture lab, and neurohistology lab.

Honors and Awards

1982 – 1984 – Teaching Assistant, Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, Milwaukee
1982 – Tau Beta Pi, National Engineering Honor Society
1983 – 1986 – Research Assistant, Department of Neurosurgery, Medical College of Wisconsin
1984 – Alpha Eta Mu Beta, National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society
1984 – 1986 – Francis Bacon Fellowship Award
1984 – 1986 – Marquette Electronics Fellowship Award
1986 – Nominated for Who’s Who of Students in American Universities
1997 – Best Scientific Paper Award, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine
1999 – Best Research Paper, Mid-America Orthopaedic Association
1999 – Edward D. Henderson Prize for Excellence in Medical Writing
2000 – Best Paper in a Section Award, Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium
2004 – Fellow, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine
2006 – Excellence in Oral Presentation Award, Society of Automotive Engineers
2009 – Best Student Paper, Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium
2010 – John Paul Stapp Best Paper, Stapp Car Crash Conference
2011 – Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
2012 – Award of Merit, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine
2013 – Arnold W Siegel International Transportation Safety Award, Society of Automotive Engineers
2014 – Fellow, Society of Automotive Engineers


BS, Marquette University, Milwaukee WI, 1982
PhD, Marquette University, Milwaukee WI, 1986

Research Interests

The biomechanics of brain and spinal cord injury, mechanics of spine surgical techniques, military and motor vehicle crash trauma.