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  • Brian Kelly, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Neurobiology

    Dr. Kelly’s expertise is in the area of musculoskeletal biomechanics with focus on the mechanical behaviors of the human spinal column. His laboratory works closely with clinical neurosurgeons in the Division of Neurosurgery as well as neurosurgical residents, fellows, and research staff to better understand how disease, trauma, and surgical interventions affect the normal forces, movements, and stability of the human spine.

    Dr. Kelly’s interests include the development and application of custom robotic testing systems that significantly improve the simulation of complex motion and loading patterns experienced by spinal joints during activities of daily living.

    Dr. Kelly received his BS in mechanical engineering in 1987 and his MS in mechanical engineering in 1992 from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. After working as a research engineer, he returned to his graduate studies and completed his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2005.

    Education & Training
    • PhD, University of Tennessee, Biomedical Engineering, 2005
    • MS with thesis, McMaster University, Mechanical Engineering, 1992
    • BS, McMaster University, Mechanical Engineering, 1987
    Professional Memberships
    • International Society for Advancement of Spine Surgery
    • North American Spine Society
    • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Bioengineering Division
    • Southern Biomedical Engineering Society
    • Ad hoc reviewer, Spine, European Spine Journal, Journal of Biomechanics, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering (ASME)
    Honors and Awards
    • 2018: Resident (Jake Godzik) and Fellow (Bernardo de Andrada) Young Investigator Awards, SOLAS Annual Meeting (Co-author and laboratory principal investigator)
    • 2017: Best Basic Science Paper Award (Anna Newcomb), ISASS Annual Meeting (senior author and laboratory principal investigator)
    • 2017: ASU Senior Capstone “Engineering Analysis” Award; Team: Gonzao Ahuactizin, Emma Alina, Jordan Krause, Robel Okbe (Mentor and laboratory principal investigator)
    • 2016: 3rd Place Student Presentation Award; Team: Maeneka Grewel, Alexander Bhatt, Arizona Science and Engineering Fair, Phoenix (Mentor and laboratory principal investigator)
    • 2012: Patent Recognition Award, University of Tennessee Research Foundation Innovations
    • 2008: Memphis Business Journal Health Care Hero Award in the Health Care Innovations
    • 1987-1988: Research Scholarship Award, McMaster University
    Selected Publications

    View Additional Publications on Pub Med

    1. Godzik J, Pereira BA, Newcomb AGUS, Lehrman JN, Mundis GM Jr, Hlubek RJ, Uribe JS, Kelly BP, Turner JD. Optimizing biomechanics of anterior column realignment for minimally invasive deformity correction. Spine J. 2019 Sep 10. pii: S1529-9430(19)30968-4. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2019.09.004. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31518683.
    2. Snyder LA, Lehrman JN, Menon RK, Godzik J, Newcomb AGUS, Kelly BP. Biomechanical implications of unilateral facetectomy, unilateral facetectomy plus partial contralateral facetectomy, and complete bilateral facetectomy in minimally invasive transforaminal interbody fusion. J Neurosurg Spine. 2019 May 10;31(3):447-452. doi: 10.3171/2019.2.SPINE18942. PubMed PMID: 31075766.
    3. Bohl MA, Morgan CD, Mooney MA, Repp GJ, Lehrman JN, Kelly BP, Chang SW, Turner
      JD, Kakarla UK. Biomechanical Testing of a 3D-printed L5 Vertebral Body Model. Cureus. 2019 Jan 15;11(1):e3893. doi: 10.7759/cureus.3893. PubMed PMID: 30911450; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6424546.
    4. Hlubek RJ, Godzik J, Newcomb AGUS, Lehrman JN, de Andrada B, Bohl MA, Farber SH, Kelly BP, Turner JD. Iliac screws may not be necessary in long-segment constructs with L5-S1 anterior lumbar interbody fusion: cadaveric study of stability and instrumentation strain. Spine J. 2019 May;19(5):942-950. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2018.11.004. Epub 2018 Nov 9. PubMed PMID: 30419290.
    5. Cross WW 3rd, Berven SH, Slater N, Lehrman JN, Newcomb AGUS, Kelly BP. In Vitro Biomechanical Evaluation of a Novel, Minimally Invasive, Sacroiliac Joint Fixation Device. Int J Spine Surg. 2018 Oct 15;12(5):587-594. doi: 10.14444/5072. eCollection 2018 Oct. PubMed PMID: 30364882; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6198630.
    6. Grunert P, Reyes PM, Newcomb AG, Towne SB, Kelly BP, Theodore N, Härtl R. Biomechanical Evaluation of Lumbar Decompression Adjacent to Instrumented Segments. Neurosurgery. 2016 Dec;79(6):895-904. PubMed PMID: 27580478.
    7. Newcomb AG, Baek S, Kelly BP, Crawford NR. Effect of screw position on load transfer in lumbar pedicle screws: a non-idealized finite element analysis. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2017 Feb;20(2):182-192. Epub 2016 Jul 25. PubMed PMID: 27454197; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5386406.
    8. Kelly BP, Theodore N. What Can Standard in Vitro Biomechanical Testing Tell Us about Adjacent Segment Disease? World Neurosurg. 2016 May;89:710-2. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.12.007. Epub 2015 Dec 17. PubMed PMID: 26704198.
    9. Bennett CR, Kelly BP. Robotic application of a dynamic resultant force vector using real-time load-control: simulation of an ideal follower load on Cadaveric L4-L5 segments. J Biomech. 2013 Aug 9;46(12):2087-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.05.031. Epub 2013 Jun 27. PubMed PMID: 23809771.
    10. Kelly BP, Bennett CR. Design and validation of a novel Cartesian biomechanical testing system with coordinated 6DOF real-time load control: application to the lumbar spine (L1-S, L4-L5). J Biomech. 2013 Jul 26;46(11):1948-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.05.008. Epub 2013 Jun 12. PubMed PMID: 23764173.

    About Barrow Neurological Institute
    Since our doors opened as a regional specialty center in 1962, we have grown into one of the premier destinations in the world for neurology and neurosurgery. Our experienced, highly skilled, and comprehensive team of neurological specialists can provide you with a complete spectrum of care–from diagnosis through outpatient neurorehabilitation–under one roof. Barrow Neurological Institute: Discover. Educate. Heal.