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Joseph D. Towles
BioJoseph Towles is a Lecturer jointly appointed in the Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering Departments at Stanford University. Joe’s teaching interests are in the areas of solid mechanics, neuromuscular biomechanics, dynamical systems and control, and engineering design. His scholarship interest is in the area of engineering education. Specifically, Joe's engineering education activities include student-centric course and curricular development; assessment of student learning & engagement; and innovation in approaches to enhance student learning.
A Mechanical Engineer by training, Joe earned his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and his MS and PhD degrees both in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University (1996-2003). Following graduate school, Joe was a research post-doctoral fellow and subsequently a research scientist and then a research assistant professor in neuromuscular biomechanics in the Sensory Motor Performance Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at Northwestern University (2003-2012). Additionally, Joe was a research health scientist for the Rehabilitation R&D Service in the Department of Veterans Affairs (Hines, IL) during that time and later a scientist in the neuromuscular biomechanics lab in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2012-2014). At the time, Joe led projects that addressed the broad question of how to restore hand function (ability to grasp objects) following cervical spinal cord injury and hemiparetic stroke using experimental and computational techniques in biomechanics. As a complement to teaching within the undergraduate and graduate curricula in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014-2018), and now teaching broadly within the undergraduate curricula of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering at Stanford, Joe's current scholarship interest has shifted to engineering education.