Penny R. Atkins

Associate Director, One Utah Data Science Hub
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Kahlert School of Computing
Data Exploration and Learning in Precision Health Intelligence (DELPHI) Initiative
Data Science and Ethics of Technology (DATASET) Initiative
University of Utah
Pronouns: she/her

Curriculum Vitae

Education and Background

  • Associate Director, One Utah Data Science Hub, University of Utah, 2022-Present
  • Research Associate, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah, 2020-2023
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Bone Biomechanics, ETH Zurich, 2018-2020
  • PhD, Bioengineering, University of Utah, 2013-2018
  • Engineer, Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation, 2009-2013
  • BS, Industrial Engineering, Montana State University, 2005-2009

I completed my BS in Industrial Engineering at Montana State University in 2009 and helped in the design and implementation of a new process line at the Idaho National Laboratory for four years prior to starting my PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Utah. My PhD research applied a number of computational and imaging methods to improve our understanding of the initiation and progression of hip diseases affecting young, active populations.

I began my post-doctoral fellowship at ETH Zurich in Switzerland in 2018, where I quantified micro-structural fracture healing in patients using high-resolution imaging. I returned to Utah in 2020 to join the SCI Institute as a research associate where I developed advanced statistical methods for analyzing population-level biomechanics without loss of subject-specific data. Recently, I became the Associate Director of the One Utah Data Science Hub.

Research Interests

Bridge the fields of computational and clinical biomedical research to elucidate the relationship between shape and function with respect to biomechanics at both the joint and tissue level. Using a combination of experimental and computational approaches, including medical image analysis, statistical shape modeling, and machine learning, I aim to modernize the methods used to analyze human biomechanics.

Orthopaedics, Biomechanics, Biomedical Engineering, Computational Modeling, Longitudinal Imaging, Statistical Shape Modeling, Gait Analysis, Musculoskeletal Modeling, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT), High Resolution Quantitative CT (HR-pQCT), Advanced Statistics

Teaching Experience

  • University of Utah, BME 3250, Physiology for Engineers - Instructor (Fall 2022)
  • University of Utah, BME 4992, Biomedical Engineering Thesis Writing & Communication II - Instructor (Spring 2022)
  • University of Utah, BME 4991, Biomedical Engineering Thesis Writing & Communication I - Instructor (Fall 2021)
  • ETH Zurich, Orthopaedic Biomechanics - Lecturer (Spring 2019, 2020)
  • University of Utah, BME 4250, Biomechanics I - Teaching Assistant (Fall 2014)

Community Engagment & Outreach

Diversity is the foundation of innovation and critical thinking. We must promote a culture of pride, support, and celebration of our differences, whether in age, race, gender, culture, educational background, or work experience. In parallel, we must recognize that many of these aspects lead to disparities throughout our society and work to promote fair treatment and distribution of resources.

Towards helping kids find their inner love for science and engineering, I volunteer with Elementary Engineering Week, The University of Utah Science & Engineering Fair, and the Intermountain Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. During my post-doctoral fellowship, I lead a women’s peer mentoring group sponsored by Fix the Leaky Pipeline and served on the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) and the subcommitte for mental health in collaboration with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) in 2022-2023.

Outside of my professional career, I am also involved in mentoring through Little Bellas and local mountain bike teams.


Google Scholar
NIH National Library of Medicine Bibliography
PhD Dissertation