Dr. Cotton began his career with B.S. (1987) and M.S. (1989) from the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech. He spent the early 1990s as on onsite contractor at the Federal Highway Administration's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center simulating freeway flows. After taking a year off to backpack around the world, Dr. Cotton returned to Blacksburg, earning a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics with an option in biomechanics in 1998. Until 2002, he was a research fellow in the Bioengineering Science Research Group at the University of Southampton in the UK, creating fatigue damage simulations of human bone. Dr. Cotton returned to serve on the faculty of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech until 2007. Dr. Cotton has published 20 refereed articles in academic journals and more than 25 conference papers. He has taught introductory mechanics, physics, and numerical methods courses as well as advanced courses in physiological modeling, solid mechanics, and mechanics of biological solids.
- Computational biomechanics oriented towards material nonlinearity, solid mechanics, and finite element analysis (FEA)
- Biological and physiological modeling, with a special interest in cellular mechanotransduction
- Quantifying mechanical integrity of bone, including noninvasive techniques, transferring medical images to mechanical models, and simulation of damage and growth