Meet the chair

Meet John Cavanaugh, M.D.

Dr. John Cavanaugh is chair of the Wayne State University Department of Biomedical Engineering. He has conducted research on impact biomechanics, lower back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and axonal injury using neurophysiologic techniques. 

Dr. John Cavanaugh, pictured at far right, with other Biomedical Engineering faculty.

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Where did you attend high school?
Detroit Catholic Central

When did you know you wanted to become a biomedical engineer?
I was a civil engineer for five years. I went back to school to become a doctor, and while I was taking medical classes, I knew I wanted to become a biomedical engineer.

What's your favorite thing about the field?
It combines the principles of engineering and applies them to human health and safety.

What are some exciting areas of study/research in your field?
Understanding and preventing injury, regrowing human tissue that can be used when our own tissue is no longer functioning, and collaborating with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to create mini-sensors that can detect what’s going on in the body.
Any tips for success?
Look ahead at what’s going to happen in the future. When we provide our research and education at the university, we are anticipating the needs of future citizens and engineers.
What do you like to do when you're not teaching/researching?
Play golf. It combines being outdoors, being with friends and colleagues, and participating in a sport. In knowing how to use the muscles of the body and limbs to have a consistent swing, you are using the principles of biomechanics.

150 years in the heart of Detroit