A Balancing Act

Head shot of Dr. Chagdes

Going into graduate school, Dr. James (Jim) Chagdes knew he enjoyed working on research projects, but was still unsure of the career options he wanted to pursue after college. Now a newly tenure-track mechanical and manufacturing engineering (MME) professor at Miami, he feels he is in the perfect position.

Jim became a teaching assistant (TA) during his time at Purdue University and also had the opportunity to work on research. He grew to love both aspects of the job, which helped him decide to become a professor.

Jim’s main research interest, biomechanical problems with a focus on the study of human balance, began several years ago. This interest also allows him to collaborate with researchers from the Department of Kinesiology and contribute an engineering skillset to their field of studies.

Jim specifically looks at balance differences between healthy individuals in comparison to individuals that have neurological impairments such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or concussion. Early identification of imbalance is important to preventing dangerous falls and subsequent injuries. The ultimate goal of his research would be to design for balance rehabilitation and correction. Jim believes his research can be applied to other biomechanical problems to help provide functional independence to individuals with needs outside of balance.

“One of the neat things is, I went into engineering and never saw myself working with humans…It’s exciting to know that I could be helping other individuals’ health care needs,” said Jim.

Jim is excited to begin his work at Miami in the fall as he teaches Mechanics and Materials (MME 312). He hopes to be able to provide many undergraduate students with research experience to help them find their passion within the field.

Written by Sarah Mattina, student communications assistant