Frank A. Pintar, PhD

Professor of Neurosurgery
Director, VA Neuroscience Labs


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.

Education & Training

  • BS, Marquette University, Milwaukee WI (1982)
  • PhD, Marquette University, Milwaukee WI (1986)

Awards & Honors

  • 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

Primary Research Areas

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


Mailing Address

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