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Richard R. Neptune, Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has been selected to receive the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) inaugural Founders’ Award as well as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Van C. Mow Medal.

ASB was founded in October 1977 to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration among biomechanists working across many fields. Neptune was among three ASB Fellows named in 2016.

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 in 2017 for the first time.

ASME was founded in 1880 and today includes more than 130,000 members around the world. The medal’s namesake, Van C. Mow, was an early pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering.

Each year, ASME bestows the Van C. Mow Medal upon 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 — an internationally recognized leader in the areas of biomechanics and neuromotor control of human movement — directs the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab at UT Austin.

Neptune’s 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 the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, including the American Society of Biomechanics 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.

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