Dr. Tim Nelson is a biomechanical engineer and a member of the Los Angeles’ Injury Biomechanics group. He is responsible for assessing injury causation in vehicle collisions and sports injuries with a special interest in bicycle cases.

Tim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. His PhD research focused on neck injuries generated during head-first impacts, and designing a helmet to prevent them. “If you can keep the head moving over the initial few milliseconds of the impact, you can reduce the risk of serious neck injury,” he explains.

Tim joined MEA as a member of the Collision Reconstruction group in Vancouver. A few years later he moved to the firm’s Los Angeles location and the Injury Biomechanics group. He has testified in court as an expert witness and strives to provide clients with unbiased, detailed answers to the questions underlying their case. “We are committed to being objective and honest at MEA,” he says.

Tim is a keen cyclist. His passion for pedaling—combined with his expertise in both injury biomechanics and collision reconstruction—makes him uniquely equipped to reconstruct bike accidents. “Compared to car crashes, bike accidents often leave limited evidence behind at the scene,” he observes. “Being able to assess the injuries can be extremely helpful in figuring out what happened.”

areas of specialization

  1. Injury Mechanics
  2. Motor vehicle collision injuries
  3. Seat belt effectiveness
  4. Collision reconstruction
  5. Sports injuries
  6. Bicycle dynamics

education

  1. Doctor of Philosophy, Biomedical Engineering, Specialization in Mechanical Engineering, University of British Columbia, 2011.
  2. Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Minor in Commerce, University of British Columbia, 2002.

professional status

  1. Registered Professional Engineer, State of California, March 2014.

Professional Experience

  1. MEA Forensic Engineers & Scientists
    Project Engineer, August 2012 to July 2014

    Biomechanical Engineer, July 2014 to present
    Conducts biomechanical analyses to assess injury causation in cases involving automobile and sporting injuries.

  2. University of British Columbia, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vancouver, BC
    PhD Candidate – Injury Biomechanics Laboratory, January 2006 to December 2011

    Project: ProNeckTor – A helmet to prevent cervical spine injuries in head-first impactsAssisted with successful grant applications to purchase equipment, specify, purchase, and assemble instrumentation. Design, build, and test mechanical surrogate ATD neck for head-first impact simulation. Design, build, and test helmet prototypes and other test apparatus. Supervised research engineer(s), assisted with securing worldwide patent protection for the novel device. Presented research at conferences and prepared research manuscripts.Teaching Assistant – Mechanical Engineering: 3rd year Mechanical Design, 4th year Injury Biomechanics, 4th year Mechanical Vibrations: lecture tutorials, mark assignments, supervised student research projects.

  3. Graham Ryan Consulting Ltd., Edmonton and Calgary, AB
    Reconstruction Engineer, January 2003 to September 2004

    Assisted with technical investigations involving motor vehicle accidents including the determination of collision severity, collision sequence, occupant kinematics, seat belt use and effectiveness, vehicle speed and causes of mechanical failure.

  4. Peerless Limited, Penticton, BC
    Design Engineer, April 2002 to December 2002

    Duties included: Design of custom components for heavy-haul and logging trailers, prepare detailed drawing packages, pre-release inspections of completed trailers, investigate incidents arising from faulty ABS air-brake installations, conduct ABS training for fabrication staff to explain how suspension characteristics affect sensed axle in ABS installations, Consult with clients to establish needs (log lengths or intended cargo) then optimize bunk spacing and/or axle spacing for maximum payload within legal axle weights, Create and maintain solid models for several trailers.

Teaching Experience

  1. University of British Columbia, Department of Mechanical Engineering

    Teachers Assistant Mech 465, Mechanical Vibrations, January to April 2006
    Duties: mark assignments, lecture tutorials.

    Teachers Assistant Mech 410/550, Injury Biomechanics, September to December 2005
    Duties: mark assignments, guest lecture.

    Teachers Assistant Mech 351, Mechanical Design, Mechanical Engineering, September 2004 to April 2005
    Duties: lecture weekly tutorials, mark tutorial assignments, supervise student research project groups over 2 semesters.

    Undergraduate Teachers Assistant, Mech 201 lab course, Mechanical Engineering, September to December 2001
    Duties: lecture 2 weekly labs and supervise students in the lab, mark lab reports.

Research Activities

  1. Analysis and publication of occupant injury exposures from a series of four full-scale rollover tests using compact SUVs with driver and passenger crash test dummies.
  2. Researched the mechanics of neck injuries that occur in head-first impacts. Focused on the role of head constraint on the magnitude of forces and bending moments that develop in the neck during impacts using mechanical surrogates.
  3. Co-developed a method for studying the response of the human cadaveric spine and spinal cord using a crash test dummy head in a mechanical drop tower with high-speed photogrammetry and x-rays.
  4. Tested the accuracy of speed changes reported in Toyota Corolla and Tacoma air bag control modules (black boxes) in low-speed rear and frontal impacts.

Awards

  1. British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC), Doctoral Innovation Scholar Recipient 2007-2010
  2. Margaret H. Hines Memorial Award, Best Oral Presentation, 4th Annual Injury Biomechanics Symposium May 19-20, 2008, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH http://www.osuibrl.org/symposium/margaretHhines/
  3. UBC Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Poster Competition, Best Poster, 2008
  4. Paul Geyer Annual Graduate Award in Biomedical Engineering, 2007, UBC Biomedical Engineering Program http://www.bme.ubc.ca/news-events/release/geyer.pdf
  5. International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) Annual Research Meeting Poster Award, 2005

research publications

This list is a selection of publications authored by this expert. For a more complete list, please contact their project coordinator.

Lectures & Presentations

  1. November 8, 2015 – Head, Neck, Chest, and Lumbar Responses During Compact SUV Rollovers, 43rd annual NHTSA International Workshop on Human Subjects for Biomechanical Research, New Orleans, LA.
  2. March 16, 2013 – Accuracy of Event Data Recorders in Low-Speed Collisions, SATAI Spring Conference, Manhattan Beach, CA.
  3. June 6-9, 2012 – Dennison CR, Saari A, Zhu QA, Nelson TS, Morley PL, Itshayek E, Oxland TR, Cripton PA. Follower Load Influences the Kinematics and Kinetics of Cervical Spine Buckling During Simulated Head First Impact: An Ex Vivo Study, 17th Biennial meeting of the Canadian Society of Biomechanics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC, Canada.
  4. June 6-9, 2012 – Dennison CR, Saari A, Zhu QA, Nelson TS, Morley PL, Itshayek E, Oxland TR, Cripton PA. Follower Load Influences Cervical Spine Kinematics and Kinetics During Simulated Head First Impact: An Ex Vivo Study, 17th Biennial meeting of the Canadian Society of Biomechanics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC, Canada.
  5. May 13-15, 2012 – Dennison CR, Saari A, Zhu QA, Nelson TS, Morley PL, Itshayek E, Oxland TR, Cripton PA. Follower Load Influences the Kinematics and Kinetics of Cervical Spine Buckling During Simulated Head First Impact: An Ex Vivo Study, 8th Annual Injury Biomechanics Symposium, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
  6. March 25, 2010 – Nelson TS,Cripton PA. Pro-Neck-Tor: An Experimental Helmet to Prevent Neck Injuries in Head-First Impacts, ICORD Trainee Research Seminar Series, Vancouver, BC.
  7. September 17-19, 2008 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. Inducing Head Motion with a Novel Helmet during Head-First Impact Can Mitigate Neck Injury Metrics: An Experimental Proof-of-Concept Investigation using Mechanical Surrogates, 2008 International IRCOBI Conference on the Biomechanics of Injury, Bern, Switzerland.
  8. September 16, 2008 – Nelson TS, Van Toen CY, Jones CF, Street J, Cripton PA. Experimental Impact to the Hybrid III Head and Cadaveric Cervical Spine with an Advanced Muscle Force Replication System, IRCOBI 3rd Annual Workshop on Biomechanical Experiments.
  9. May 19-20, 2008 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. Inducing Head Motion with a Novel Helmet during Head-First Impact Can Mitigate Neck Injury Metrics: An Experimental Proof-of-Concept Investigation using Mechanical Surrogates, 4th Annual Injury Biomechanics Symposium, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  10. April 30, 2008 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. A Novel Helmet Can Reduce Compressive Cervical Spine Loading in a Head First Impact: Towards a Neck Injury Prevention Helmet, UBC Department of Orthopaedics – Orthopaedic Update 2008, Vancouver, BC.
  11. May 18-19, 2007 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. Methodology for Evaluating a Neck Injury Prevention Helmet, Proceedings of the 2007 Northwest Biomechanics Symposium, Eugene, OR, USA.
  12. October 13, 2006 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. A Biofidelic Neck for Axial Impacts, ICORD Annual Research Meeting, Vancouver, BC.
  13. September 20-22, 2006 – Saari A, Itshayek E, Nelson TS, Morley PL, Cripton PA. Spinal Cord Deformation during injury of the Cervical Spine in Head-First Impact. International Research Conference on the Biomechanics of Impact (IRCOBI), Madrid, Spain.
  14. May 17-19, 2006 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. A Kinematically Biofidelic Surrogate Cervical Spine for Axial Impacts, 2nd Annual Injury Biomechanics Symposium, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
  15. May 12-13, 2006 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. A Biofidelic Surrogate Neck for Axial Compressive Impacts, Proceedings of the 2006 Northwest Biomechanics Symposium, Vancouver, BC.
  16. October 18, 2005 – Nelson TS, Cripton PA. Prevention or Mitigation of Cervical Spinal Cord Injury in Axial Compressive Impacts through a Novel Helmet Design. ICORD Annual Research Meeting, Vancouver, BC.
  17. May 13-14, 2005 – Nelson TS, Greaves CY, Reed SG, Rankine R, Cripton PA. In Vivo Spinal Cord Material Properties: An Indentation Approach. Proceedings of the 2005 Northwest Biomechanics Symposium, Seattle, WA.

Training & Professional Development

  1. February 26-28, 2016 – Instructor Certification Program (ICP) Level 1 Ride Guide Certification, International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), Irvine, CA.
  2. July 6, 2015 – Building Code Overview, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, Mississauga, ON.
  3. March 26-29, 2013 – Crash Data Specialists CDR Analysis and Applications Course, Las Vegas, NV
  4. March 25, 2013 – Crash Data Specialists CDR (Crash Data Retrieval) System Operators Course, Las Vegas, NV
  5. March 15-16, 2013 – SATAI Spring Conference 2013, Manhattan Beach, CA
  6. November 15-16, 2012 – PC-Crash Expert Online Workshop
  7. November 8-9, 2012 – PC-Crash Essentials Online Workshop
  8. July 2007 – Advanced Rider Training, West Coast Superbike School, Abbotsford, BC
  9. November 5, 2003 – Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) Course, Collision Safety Institute, Edmonton, AB
  10. July 28, 2003 – Motorcycle Training Course, Alberta Safety Council, Edmonton, AB

Patents

  1. Co-inventor of: Apparatus for Mitigating Spinal Cord Injury (WO/2008/046196), Cripton P.A. and Nelson, T.S. http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2008046196