• Joint Faculty
  • Dean, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, Northern Illinois University
Donald R. Peterson

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Connecticut
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Connecticut
  • B.S., Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • B.S., Biomechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Research Interests

  • Dr. Donald Peterson is dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University. His research interests focus on modeling biomechanics and human dynamics, including the exposure and response of the human body to various physical hazards, in order to accomplish two unique goals: 1) to understand and model the underlying principles of human systems (e.g., cellular, tissue, organ, musculoskeletal, neurovascular, hand-arm, whole body, etc.) during actual performance or interactions with devices, such as implants, medical devices, non-medical devices, etc., and 2) to directly apply research outcomes to real-world scenarios involving device design or redesign, human performance improvement, and clinical scenarios, especially those involving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pathophysiological risk or injury.

    Dr. Peterson has more than 21 years of experience in devices and systems and in engineering and medical research, and his work on human-device interaction has led to applications on the design and development of several medical devices and tools. Other recent translations of his research include the development of devices such as robotic assist devices and prosthetics, long-duration biosensor monitoring systems, surgical and dental instruments, patient care medical devices, spacesuits and space tools for NASA, powered and non-powered hand tools, musical instruments, sports equipment, computer input devices, etc. Other overlapping research initiatives focus on the development of computational models and simulations of biofluid dynamics and biomechanical performance, cell mechanics and cellular responses to fluid shear stress, human exposure and response to vibration, and the acoustics of hearing protection and communication. He also has been involved clinically with the Occupational and Environmental Medicine group at the University of Connecticut Health Center where his work has been directed toward the objective engineering analysis of the anatomic and physiological processes involved in the onset of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular diseases, including strategies of disease mitigation.

    Dr. Peterson’s scholarly activities include more than 50 published journal articles, two textbook chapters, two textbook sections, 12 textbooks, and serving as co-editor-in-chief for "The Biomedical Engineering Handbook" by CRC Press, which is accepted internationally as the standard handbook in biomedical engineering.