Expert Witness Biography

Samantha McBirney is a biomedical engineer with a strong research background in injury biomechanics and medical device design, development, and testing. She applies her expertise to forensic investigations involving traumatic brain injuries, bone fractures, soft tissues injuries, spinal cord injuries; and injuries associated with medical devices and equipment.

Samantha has been researching injury biomechanics on both the theoretical and experimental levels for nearly 10 years at both the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Southern California (USC). At UC Berkeley, Samantha studied the forces indicative of various types of sports-related injuries. Through her research, Samantha developed a comprehensive understanding of injury mechanics and pathological loading. Her work also led to the prototyping of a sports product designed to reduce rotational forces experienced by the brain in high-impact sports. At USC, Samantha has shifted her focus to blast-induced neurotrauma, a form of traumatic brain injury that manifests when a subject is exposed to the pressure wave emanating from an explosion, as opposed to blunt impact.

In addition to injury biomechanics, Samantha has researched medical devices for nearly 10 years, focusing specifically on diagnostics. She has worked on the development and fine-tuning of diagnostic devices to improve accuracy, reduce contamination of samples, and eliminate the potential for user error. Her specific experience includes the development of a microfluidic device designed to diagnose HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, design of an improved method to detect bacteria in a sample, and she has designed, patented, and successfully tested a malaria diagnostic for use in low-resource settings.

Samantha completed her academic research at some of the nation’s most respected institutes in the field of biomedical engineering. She is completing her Ph.D. and has her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California and her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Samantha’s research has granted her two fellowships from USC, and she has published and presented her work internationally at conferences hosted by IDEO and the International Society for Optics and Photonics, winning awards for “Most Potential to Change the World” from IDEO Design-A-Thon, Outstanding Oral Presentation, and others. She is a member of the Southern California Biomedical Council, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Disruptive Women in Healthcare, among a number of other professional affiliations.