The Bentil Group

Sarah A. Bentil, Ph.D.

Sarah Bentil

Brief Biography

Dr. Sarah A. Bentil is a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University of Science and Technology. She is also a faculty member in the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program and an affiliate faculty in both the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Additionally, she is the Director of The Bentil Group. She is also affiliated with the PANTHER (i.e., the Physics-bAsed Neutralization of Threats to Human tissuEs and oRgans) Program. Her research interests are in the field of soft tissue biomechanics and biomaterials. Dr. Bentil’s research program is interdisciplinary and includes the application of innovative solutions to identify, treat and/or diagnose injuries and diseases in the brain. Members of her research program are developing and employing noninvasive experimental techniques to characterize the mechanical behavior of the brain and other soft materials. Computational studies are also being conducted to gain insight into how the response of the soft materials relate to various biomedical problems. She is the recipient of the 2022 Early Achievement in Research Award from Iowa State University’s College of Engineering. Dr. Bentil is also the recipient of the 2022 Springer/Nature Publishing Young Investigator Lecture Award by the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM) and the 2020 Air Force Research Laboratory Summer Faculty Fellowship Program Award. In 2015, Dr. Bentil completed her one-year postdoctoral appointment with the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), located at Johns Hopkins University. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in Mechanical Engineering in 2013. Prior to her studies at The Ohio State University, she worked as an Engineer at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation. She received her M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her undergraduate degrees (B.S.) in both Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics were obtained from the University of Vermont.


  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2013
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 2006
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Vermont, 2003
  • B.S., Mathematics, University of Vermont, 2003

Interest Areas

  • Soft tissue biomechanics
  • Biomaterials
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Blast impact injury mechanisms
  • High-speed imaging
  • Brain-machine interfaces
  • Blunt impact injury mechanisms

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Suresh Faculty Fellow, 2024 – 2029
  • Early Achievement in Research Awardee, Iowa State University’s College of Engineering, 2022
  • Springer/Nature Publishing Young Investigator Lecture Awardee, Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM), 2022
  • Building a World of Difference Faculty Fellow in Engineering, 2021 – 2024
  • Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship Program Awardee, 2020
  • William March Scholar in Mechanical Engineering, 2016 – 2020
  • Best Presentation Award in Human Factors/Biomedical category, 8th Annual Dayton Engineering Sciences Symposium, 2013

Selected Publications

  1. SA. Bentil, WJ. Jackson, C. Williams, and TC. Miller (2022). Viscoelastic Properties of Inert Solid Rocket Propellants Exposed to a Shock Wave. Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 47(1), e202100055 [doi: 10.1002/prep.202100055]. Special Issue: Rocket Propellants.
  2. JL. Marsh and SA. Bentil (2021). Cerebrospinal Fluid Cavitation as a Mechanism of Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review of Current Debates, Methods, and Findings. Frontiers in Neurology, 12 [doi10.3389/fneur.2021.626393].
  3. AK. McCarty, L. Zhang, S. Hansen, WJ. Jackson, and SA. Bentil (2019). Viscoelastic Properties of Shock Wave Exposed Brain Tissue Subjected to Unconfined Compression Experiments. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 100, 103380 [doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2019.103380].
  4. L. Zhang, WJ. Jackson, and SA. Bentil (2019). The mechanical behavior of brain surrogates manufactured from silicone elastomers. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 95, 180–190 [doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2019.04.005].
  5. MA. Calhoun, SA. Bentil, E. Elliott, JJ. Otero, JO. Winter, and RB. Dupaix (2019). Beyond Linear Elastic Modulus: Viscoelastic Models for Brain and Brain Mimetic Hydrogels. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 5(8), 3964–3973 [doi:10.1021/acsbiomaterials.8b01390]. Special Issue: Biomaterials for Mechanobiology.
  6. SA. Bentil and RB. Dupaix (2018). Simulations of hydrogel-coated neural microelectrodes to assess biocompatibility improvement using strain as a metric for micromotion. Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express, 4(3), 035036 [].
  7. SA. Bentil, KT. Ramesh, and TD. Nguyen (2016). A dynamic inflation test for soft materials. Experimental Mechanics 56(5), 759–769 [doi: 10.1007/s11340-015-0122-1].
  8. SA. Bentil and RB. Dupaix (2014). Exploring the mechanical behavior of degrading swine neural tissue at low strain rates via the fractional Zener constitutive model. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 30, 83–90 [doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2013.10.020].
  9. SS. Rao, SA. Bentil, J. DeJesus, J. Larison, A. Hissong, R. Dupaix, A. Sarkar, and JO. Winter (2012). Inherent interfacial mechanical gradients in 3D hydrogels influence tumor cell behaviors. PLoS ONE 7(4), e35852 [doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035852].
  10. SA. Bentil, S. MacLean, and RB. Dupaix (2010). Viscoelastic properties of macaque neural tissue at low strain rates. In: Proceedings of the ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE). Vol. 2. Paper No. IMECE2010-39071. Vancouver, BC CANADA, pp.853–857 [doi: 10.1115/IMECE2010-39071].
  11. AM. Eigen, SA. Bentil, and DL. Smith (2007). The crash problem for advanced restraints. In: 20th Enhanced Safety Vehicles Conference Proceedings. Paper No. 07-0234. Lyon, FRANCE, pp.853–857 [doi: esv20/07-0234-O].
  12. E. Kobrinsky, DE. Mager, SA. Bentil, SI. Murata, DR. Abernethy, and NM. Soldatov (2005). Identification of plasma membrane macro- and microdomains from wavelet analysis of FRET microscopy. Biophysical Journal 88(5), 3625–3634 [doi: 10.1529/biophysj.104.054056].