The Department of Mechanical Engineering is excited to welcome Dr Haohan Zhang as an Assistant Professor this fall. Dr Zhang received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, and an M.S. from University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received his B.E. from Dalian University of Technology in China. Before joining the U, Dr Zhang was a Postdoc at Columbia University.

Dr Zhang’s research is focused on the design and control of wearable robots and how they can be used to solve both scientific and clinical problems. His lab will develop intelligent robot systems to help people with movement disorders have a better quality of life, as well as using these robots to better understand biomechanics, neurology, and rehabilitation.

“One example of research is the innovation of a robotic neck exoskeleton during my time at Columbia,” said Zhang. “It was designed for patients with head drop, a condition caused by weakness in the neck muscles. The movement reduces with this condition, and it creates a variety of life challenges including safety and social concerns. By using a novel mechanism and design, the exoskeleton accommodated normal head and neck movement and empowered movements for head drop patients.”

Dr Zhang is excited to get started at the U this fall. He sees the department as a great environment for collaborations, with a group of top researchers specialized in a wide range topics in robotics. He is also excited to be connected to a well-respected hospital where his research can be applied. In addition, Utah offers great potential for collaboration with industry.

“The research we do is pretty novel,” said Zhang, “and it will require the help of students. We really value the students in our lab. I am committed to improving education and creating a fair, collaborative, and productive research environment for everyone involved.”

You can find out more on the Utah Wearable Robotics Laboratory website.