The Black Biomechanists Association (BBA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2020 to create a supportive community for Black students and professionals across the vast disciplines of biomechanics. We hope to continue collaborating with scientific societies, educational organizations, academic institutions, and industry corporations to provide some much-needed support for our Black biomechanists.
Non-Black scientists are not excluded from BBA membership or participation. We welcome and encourage allyship. In addition to direct contribution, non-Black allies indirectly support the organization by increasing awareness of our endeavors to the broader biomechanics community. All decisions made and actions taken by members of the organization align with our objectives for the betterment of Black biomechanists and DEI of the biomechanics community.
Mission & OBJECTIVES
Our mission is to uplift and enrich Black biomechanists in their academic and professional careers.
To achieve this mission, we aim to:
- Foster a supportive environment to discuss challenges, needs, and interests of Black biomechanists.
- Provide resources that encourage visibility, increase engagement, and empower Black biomechanists.
- Aid in the biomechanics community's efforts to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
Meet the Founders
Dr. Matthew McCullough is the Assistant Dean for Academic Services in The Graduate College at his alma mater North Carolina A&T State University (B.S. Industrial Engineering, 2001). He has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa, and post-doctoral experience from the Mayo Clinic. Since returning to his alma mater in the fall of 2010, Dr. McCullough has worked diligently for the University, College of Engineering, and department, helping to roll-out and accredit both the M.S. and B.S. programs in Bioengineering. He has a passion for innovative teaching methods that are applied to courses in engineering design and musculoskeletal biomechanics. His current research interests include computational analysis of the musculoskeletal system and kinematics as a biomarker/biometric. As a member of the historic NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials, his research group worked to model degradable Magnesium in skeletal environments, and are in the process of developing computational models of the foot and ankle as well as other tissues impacted by diabetes. He is the former co-director the Cyber Human Analytics Research for the Internet Of Things (CHARIOT) Lab, where unique kinematic signatures transformed into biometrics, in Internet of Things (IoT) enabled environments. Dr. McCullough values diversity and is an active member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the American Society of Biomechanics. “The Black Biomechanist Association is a dream come true. For years I’ve enjoyed ASB conferences and every year broadened my network and friendships. As I finished my Ph.D. and moved through my post-doctoral fellowship, I recognized the need for people of color to have a support network within this discipline. Along the way we have tried to build a group that would support Black people, and thanks to the dedication of many individuals, and specifically Dr. Erica Bell and soon to be Dr. Kayla Seymore, this has become a reality.”
Dr. Erica Bell is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She has a B.S in Exercise Physiology (2013) and immediately pursued and earned her Ph.D. in Bioenergetics and Exercise Science from East Carolina University (2019). Dr. Bell’s main research interests focus on using image-based modeling of bone and soft tissue to examine injury mechanisms and better understand tissue and joint function. She is passionate about a career conducting research that has the potential to produce functional outcomes in clinical practice, working alongside clinicians to help improve or develop new diagnostic methods, treatments, and interventions that can directly impact patient outcomes. She was recently awarded the Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Through this award and postdoctoral training she will enhance her current knowledge and skills using image-based modeling of bone and soft tissue, specifically gaining experience in 4DCT dynamic imaging and analysis of bone and soft tissue in the upper extremities.
In addition to becoming an independent researcher, mentoring is another important aspect of Dr. Bell’s long-term career goal.
“As a Black/African American woman, I am in an overwhelming minority population within my specific field, let alone the overall field of science itself. Through my own personal experiences, I have seen firsthand the lack of representation and opportunities to engage with other African Americans, especially Black women, in science and research fields. It is extremely important to me that I not only strive for my own career, but that I also help pave a way for other African American students who are in need of African American mentors and better representation at higher levels of education. Even though I am early in my career and still paving my way forward, I am even more excited about being able to leave a pathway behind me to make academic and research spaces more accessible for young Black scientists.”
Kayla Seymore is a Doctoral Student in the University of Delaware Biomechanics and Movement Science (BIOMS) program. She has a Master’s degree in Exercise Sport Science with an emphasis in Biomechanics from East Carolina University (2013), and laboratory manager/research associate experience from Boise State University. Since returning to pursue her PhD in the spring of 2020, Kayla has worked in the Muscle and Tendon Performance Lab, under advisement of Dr. Karin Silbernagel, investigating the recovery of tendon structure and mechanical properties between men and women with Achilles tendinopathy receiving exercise treatment. Kayla was awarded a Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research fellowship award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Through this fellowship and PhD training she plans to lay the groundwork for her long-term research focus on lower limb soft tissue biomechanics and sport injury, with specific interest in using in-vivo medical imaging technology to determine how architectural and material properties of muscle and tendon can be modulated with exercise to reduce musculoskeletal injury risk and/or improve quality of life for both healthy and pathological populations. She has coordinated several National Biomechanics Day events to promote high school involvement in biomechanics and aspires to be an effective STEM educator and mentor to underrepresented students. Kayla is an active member of the American Society of Biomechanics and Orthopaedic Research Society, where she contributes to conference program planning as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In a recent interview with the University of Delaware, Kayla expressed that, “seeing other Black scientists in STEM is a really big thing. I love this idea of having a supportive place to make Black scientists and biomechanists a little bit more visible and also to give resources to people on every single level, from tenured faculty all the way down to undergraduates who may not even know that they have a choice to become a biomechanist.”
Committees & InitiAtives
Establishing educational and interactive outreach programs to engage, recruit, and support future Black biomechanists
Educating the biomechanics community and broader audience on culturally-relevant topics that impact Black biomechanists, and communicate pertinent biomechanics events, resources, and advancement opportunities
Delivering programming relevant to the academic and professional success of Black biomechanists by hosting signature social, educational, and industry-partnered events
Provide Black biomechanists with mentoring at all academic and professional career stages through development of a needs-based mentoring program
Garnering and managing funds to provide programming, outreach events, scholarships, and research funds for Black biomechanists
Code of Conduct