Motao Zhu, MD, MS, PhD, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and Injury Control Research Center, has been appointed to the National Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Operator Education and Regulation.  Dr. Zhu is one of 15 committee members who are considered experts in their field. The committee studies and supports research and development activities designed to improve the effectiveness of methods of educating and training in the field of surface transportation vehicles, including licensing of drivers and operators. The committee gives special focus to high risk driver groups such as teens and seniors.  The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council, a private nonprofit institution that provides expertise in science and technology to the government, public and the scientific and engineering communities. The NRC is jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.
 
Zhu was recently awarded a $546,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant covers three years ($182,000 per year). Zhu’s mission is to gauge the effectiveness of states’ laws limiting or banning cellphone use among teens while driving. Over the last 11 years, he has secured more than $2.2 million in funding for his research into motor vehicle and pedestrian safety.
 
Zhu received his doctorate and master’s degrees in epidemiology from the State University of New York at Albany. He completed his medical training at Beijing Medical University, China.  Prior to joining WVU, he served as the Project Director of the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) for the New York State Department of Health from 2002-2008.  He was a section councilor for American Public Health Association, Injury Control and Emergency Medical Services Section from 2008-2011. He has been an editorial board member for the journal Injury Prevention since 2011.
 
Zhu's main research interest is the epidemiology of travel behaviors and traffic safety including calling and texting while driving, driving regulations for adolescents under age 18, traffic injuries in Appalachia, and medication and drug use among senior drivers.