New chair of biomedical engineering named


Brian L. Davis, Ph.D., who currently serves as vice president and director of the Medical Device Development Center at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA), has been named chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Akron’s College of Engineering. Pending approval by UA’s Board of Trustees, Davis will begin his new duties in the fall.

Brian L. Davis

"Dr. Davis is a world class researcher and one of the country's leading visionary and strategic leaders in medical device innovation and technology commercialization," said George K. Haritos, dean of the College of Engineering. "Throughout his career he has demonstrated the vision, creativity and drive needed to lead in a world-class academic and research environment. With Brian leading our exceptional biomedical engineering faculty and staff, the department will be well positioned to continue and even accelerate its positive momentum. He also will serve as an expert resource and catalyst in the development and commercialization of research and technological discoveries. I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Davis to our faculty."

Unique opportunities for collaboration

Haritos and ABIA CEO Dr. Frank Douglas agreed that Davis' UA appointment will be beneficial to both institutions and to the Greater Akron region as a whole because of Davis' expertise in research and economic development. ABIA is a unique collaboration of the University, Akron's three major hospital systems, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 

"This is a win-win for UA and ABIA, and we are excited that Brian will continue to collaborate with ABIA and seek to increase the participation of UA engineering faculty and students in ABIA," Douglas said. "Much of his focus throughout his career has been on the multidisciplinary aspect of education and research."

A native of South Africa, Davis joined ABIA in 2010 after serving as vice chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and director of Medical Device Solutions at the Cleveland Clinic, where he worked for 18 years. Davis’ many accomplishments include being the first Cleveland Clinic investigator to receive a peer-reviewed grant from NASA headquarters; 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 sensor instrumentation currently being used on the International Space Station.

Diverse research interests

In terms of medical devices, 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 – a project that is a collaborative effort with faculty from the University's College of Engineering.

Davis received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and master's in medicine (biomedical engineering) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and holds a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. He also has held adjunct teaching positions at NEOMED, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. At the international level, he served on the Executive Council of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) from 1995 to 2009, including a term as president of this society.

Davis resides in Moreland Hills, Ohio.

Media contact: Laura Massie, 330-972-6476 or