Dr. Brian L. Davis

Dr. Brian L. Davis

Title: Director of Research, Professor
Dept/Program: Biomedical Engineering
Office: Auburn Science & Engineering Center 209E
Phone: 330-972-6977
Fax: 330-972-3939
Email: bdavis3@uakron.edu


Brian Davis holds both a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and a master’s degree in Medicine (Biomedical Engineering) from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and a Ph.D. from Penn State University. He had a staff-level appointment at the Cleveland Clinic from 1992 to 2010.

In terms of medical devices, Dr. Davis has led a number of initiatives focused on rehabilitation technology and instrumentation for assessing a patient’s risk for diabetic foot ulceration. He is currently the Principal Investigator on a State-funded project aimed at commercializing sensors for diagnosing connective tissue disorders. He is also leading an educational program named “BEST Medicine” that encourages middle and high school students to develop interests in engineering, science and technology, particularly as these relate to designing novel medical devices. Dr. Davis is a member of a number of professional societies, including the International Society of Biomechanics – a society for which he served as President from 2005 to 2007.

Research Accomplishments

During his time at the Cleveland Clinic he was the first investigator to receive a peer-reviewed grant from NASA headquarters on the topic of foot biomechanics in response to impact loading (1996-1998), the first investigator to obtain funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the first to obtain a four year grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He subsequently received funding to develop and test an exercise countermeasure device for astronaut use and was part of a team that developed biomechanical sensor instrumentation that is currently on the International Space Station.

Over the past 18 years, Dr. Davis has served as Principal Investigator and secured external peer-reviewed funding in excess of $25,000,000.

Research Interests

Diabetic Foot Ulceration: The importance of mechanical factors such as pressure and frictional forces has been established as key in the etiology of diabetic foot ulcers. The rationale behind our research is that by quantifying localized skin loads and obtaining noninvasive measurements of tissue properties, factors leading to diabetic skin ulceration will be more fully understood. Diabetic foot research in our laboratory includes development of (i) a device for simultaneous measurement of pressure and shear forces under the feet of patients; (ii) software algorithms for visualizing and interpreting shear and pressure data.

Prosthetic sockets and liners:  Improve transfemoral prosthetic comfort by optimizing the thermal properties of the liner and socket polymer components.  Our group has funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the development of new materials.

An additional interest and active area of research relates to biomedical sensors. Our group has funding from the Wright Center for Sensors and Systems Engineering to develop five different sensors --- all related to assessing connective tissue disorders.


Noble LD Jr, Colbrunn RW, Lee DG, van den Bogert AJ, Davis BL. Design and validation of a general purpose robotic testing system for musculoskeletal applications. J Biomech Eng. 2010 Feb;132(2):025001. PubMed PMID: 20370251.

Yavuz M, Davis BL. Plantar shear stress distribution in athletic individuals with frictional foot blisters. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2010 Mar-Apr;100(2):116-20. PubMed PMID: 20237363.

Lee DG, Davis BL. Assessment of the effects of diabetes on midfoot joint pressures using a robotic gait simulator. Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Aug;30(8):767-72. PubMed PMID: 19735634.

Yavuz M, Ocak H, Hetherington VJ, Davis BL. Prediction of plantar shear stress distribution by artificial intelligence methods. J Biomech Eng. 2009 Sep;131(9):091007. PubMed PMID: 19725696.

Yavuz M, Hetherington VJ, Botek G, Hirschman GB, Bardsley L, Davis BL. Forefoot plantar shear stress distribution in hallux valgus patients. Gait Posture. 2009 Aug;30(2):257-9. Epub 2009 May 29. PubMed PMID: 19481461.

Nouvong A, Hoogwerf B, Mohler E, Davis B, Tajaddini A, Medenilla E. (2009). Evaluation of diabetic foot ulcer healing with hyperspectral imaging of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin. Diabetes Care, 32(11):2056-61

Yavuz M, Tajaddini A, Botek G, Davis BL. Temporal characteristics of plantar shear distribution: relevance to diabetic patients. J Biomech. 2008;41(3):556-9. Epub 2007 Dec 3. PubMed PMID: 18054025; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2289800.

Yavuz M, Erdemir A, Botek G, Hirschman GB, Bardsley L, Davis BL. Peak plantar pressure and shear locations: relevance to diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 2007 Oct;30(10):2643-5. Epub 2007 Jul 9. PubMed PMID: 17620447.

Yavuz M, Botek G, Davis BL. Plantar shear stress distributions: comparing actual and predicted frictional forces at the foot-ground interface. J Biomech. 2007;40(13):3045-9. Epub 2007 Apr 20. PubMed PMID: 17449038; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2169498.

Tajaddini A, Scoffone HM, Botek G, Davis BL. Laser-induced auto-fluorescence (LIAF) as a method for assessing skin stiffness preceding diabetic ulcer formation. J Biomech. 2007;40(4):736-41. Epub 2006 Nov 22. PubMed PMID: 17123538.

Mackey JR, Davis BL. Simultaneous shear and pressure sensor array for assessing pressure and shear at foot/ground interface. J Biomech. 2006;39(15):2893-7. Epub 2005 Nov 17. PubMed PMID: 16297920.

D'Andrea SE, Perusek GP, Rajulu S, Perry J, Davis BL. Jumping in simulated and true microgravity: response to maximal efforts with three landing types. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2005 May;76(5):441-7. PubMed PMID: 15892541.

Davis BL, Kuznicki J, Praveen SS, Sferra JJ. Lower-extremity amputations in patients with diabetes: pre- and post-surgical decisions related to successful rehabilitation. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2004 May-Jun;20 Suppl 1:S45-50. Review. PubMed PMID: 15150814.

Praveen SS, Hanumantha R, Belovich JM, Davis BL. Novel hyaluronic acid coating for potential use in glucose sensor design. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2003;5(3):393-9. PubMed PMID: 12828823.

Perry JE, Hall JO, Davis BL. Simultaneous measurement of plantar pressure and shear forces in diabetic individuals. Gait Posture. 2002 Feb;15(1):101-7. PubMed PMID: 11809586.


University of Cape Town, South Africa, B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, 1981; University of Cape Town, South Africa, M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, 1984; Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Exercise & Sport Science, 1992