Biomechanics Leader, Department Chair Rick Neptune Honored With Two Prestigious Awards

June 27, 2017

Professor Richard R. Neptune, an internationally recognized leader in the areas of biomechanics and neuromotor control of human movement and the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, is being recognized with two prestigious awards in the mechanical engineering field. He is receiving the inaugural Founders' Award from the American Society of Biomechanics as well as the Van C. Mow Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) was founded in 1977 to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration among biomechanists working across many fields. The ASB Founders’ Award is given to recognize “scientific accomplishment in biomechanics and excellence in mentoring” and is open to investigators of all disciplines within ASB. This is a new award that will be presented for the first time this year. In 2016, Neptune was also named one of three ASB Fellows.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) was founded in 1880 and today has more than 130,000 members around the world. Van C. Mow, the namesake of the medal Neptune received, was an early pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering. Each year, ASME awards to medal to individuals who have “demonstrated meritorious contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership in the development of the profession, mentorship to young bioengineers and with service to the bioengineering community.”

In addition to serving as department chair, Neptune directs the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab at UT Austin. His research is aimed at improving the quality of life for those with movement disabilities including lower-limb amputees, those with post-stroke hemiparesis and wheelchair users. His lab also uses advanced additive manufacturing techniques to optimize the design of prosthetic and orthotic components to improve rehabilitation outcomes. He has a patent for a prosthetic ankle joint invention.

Neptune is also the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, including the ASB Young Scientist Award, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Engineering Society of Detroit/National Multiple Sclerosis Society Da Vinci Award, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Award for Excellence in Engineering Teaching and the university’s Joe and Bettie Branson Ward Endowed Excellence Award.