Kathleen DeSantis Klinich | Faculty

Associate Research Scientist, Biosciences; Associate Director, UMTRI

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Room 427 2901 Baxter Rd. Ann Arbor, MI 48109


(734) 936-1113, fax (734) 647-3330


  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University
  • BA, English, Case Western Reserve University

Research Interests

Dr. Klinich has 30 years of experience performing research on how to protect occupants in motor-vehicle crashes, particularly child passengers. She has experience in the analysis of motor-vehicle crashes and crash databases, crash dummy design, laboratory reconstruction of real-world loading events, injury criteria development, occupant-anthropometry and posture evaluation, engineering analysis of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), child-passenger-safety issues evaluation, and finite element modeling.  Her most recent research efforts have focused on wheelchair transportation safety issues and autonomous vehicles, assessing factors contributing to motor-vehicle fatalities, and analysis of crash data to guide future safety priorities. 


Dr. Klinich serves on the SAE Dummy Testing Equipment Committee, the SAE Child Restraint Systems Committee, and the IRCOBI Technical Committee.  She is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, and is a board member of Safe Ride News.  At UMTRI, she chairs the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, serves as the DEI Department Lead, and is a member of the UMTRI Executive and Faculty Development Committees.


  • Best Paper Award, 58th Stapp Conference (2015)
  • Best Paper Award, 57th Stapp Conference (2014)

Key Projects

  • Development of an Automated Wheelchair Tiedown and Occupant Restraint System

Student Engagement

Dr. Klinich co-leads, with Dr. Carol Flannagan, the DEVIATE Multidisciplinary Design Program team, which began in January 2020. The goal of the project is to extract data from video using impartial algorithm techniques.

In her role as associate director, Dr. Klinich has led efforts to increase student engagement at UMTRI. This work has included organizing student seminars, managing the SURE and MEDC internship programs, tracking student researchers, and participating in discussions regarding experiential learning for engineering students.

Dr. Klinich also regularly supervises undergraduate students who work on her research projects.


Seven Hills, OH

Personal Interests/Hobbies

Reading, gardening, movies, sewing, crafting, Girl Scouts, travel, Sporcle

Additional Information

Dr. Klinich's Website



ORCID:  0000-0002-4835-1219

Scopus:  6507591997