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Xianlian Alex Zhou

Contact Info

Title: Associate Professor
Office: 622 Fenster Hall
Phone: 973-596-6940
Dept: Biomedical Engineering



Dr. Zhou is an Associate Professor and Director of the BioDynamics lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). His research focuses on computational biomechanics, human modeling and simulation, robotics, injury prevention, and personalized medicine. Before joining NJIT, Dr. Zhou worked at CFD Research Corporation over 10 years, where he was a principal research scientist and manager of the Human Performance and Biodynamics group. At CFD Research, Dr. Zhou developed advanced computational models to simulate and analyze in vivo biomechanical forces on tissues, including muscles, bones, discs, lung, vessels and neurons, under injury and disease conditions such as blast, blunt, and shock impacts. He also helped to evaluate different protective or performance enhancement systems for warfighters such as advanced helmet and body armor systems and wearable assistive devices such as exoskeletons. The modeling tools and software Dr. Zhou developed have been used by U.S. Department of Defense organizations such as the Army Public Health Center, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, and the Naval Air Systems Command, among others. While earning a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa, Zhou worked on the Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) program sponsored by the U.S. Army to develop a new generation of digital humans to design safety and ergonomics technologies. His research has been supported by funding agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and NASA.

Ph.D.,    Mechanical Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 2007
M. Eng.,   Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, 2003
B.  Eng.,   Engineering Mechanics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China,  2000

Honors and Awards
Outstanding Presentation Award, “A Fatigable Musculoskeletal Model for Prediction of Neck Maneuvering Loadings on Aviators”, 2nd International Digital Human Modeling Symposium, Arbor, MI, June 11-13, 2013
Graduate Student Travel Awards for the ACM Symposium on Solid and Physical Modeling, 2005
​Graduate with Honor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2003



The BioDynamics Lab directed by Dr. Zhou is focused on computational biomechanics and bioengineering, robotics and digital human modeling, and personalized medicine. We aim to develop advanced computational methods and software to simulate and analyze biomechanical loadings in biosystems under normal, extreme or injurious conditions, design and evaluate wearable assistive devices, and develop protective or preventive measures and treatment options against injuries or diseases. 

Research Interests:

  • Computational biomechanics
  • Digital human modeling and simulation
  • Robotics and human-machine interface
  • Injury prevention
  • Personalized medicine
  • Bioengineering
  • Numerical methods and high-performance computing (CPU/GPU)



Google Scholar Link:

Selected Journal Publications

Motiwale S., Subramani, A., Kraft, R., Zhou, X., “A Non-Linear Multi-Axial Fatigue Damage Model for the Cervical Intervertebral Disc Annulus”, Advances in Mechanical Engineering, 10(6):1-16, 2018.
Zhou, X., Sun, K., Roos, P., Li, P., Corner, B., “Anthropometry Model Generation Based on ANSUR II Database”, International Journal of the Digital Human, 1(4): 321-343, 2016.
Dura-Bernal, S., Zhou, X., Neymotin, S.A., Przekwas, A., Francis, J.T., Lytton, W.W., “Cortical Spiking Network Interfaced with Virtual Musculoskeletal Arm and Robotic Arm”, Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 9:13, 2015.
Zhou, X., Whitley, P., and Przekwas, A., “A musculoskeletal fatigue model for prediction of aviator neck manoeuvring loadings,” Int. J. Human Factors Modelling and Simulation, 4:1-29, 2014.
Zhou, X. and Przekwas, A., “A Fast and Robust Whole-body Control Algorithm for Running,” Int. J. Human Factors Modelling and Simulation, 2(1-2): 127-148, 2011
Zhou, X., Raghavan, M.L., Harbaugh, R.E., and Lu, J., “Patient-Specific Wall Stress Analysis in Cerebral Aneurysms Using Inverse Shell Model”, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 38(2): 478-489, 2010
Lu, J and Zhou, X., “Cylinder Element: Isogeometric Model of Continuum Rod”, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 200(1-4): 233-241, 2010.
Zhou, X. and Lu, J., “Estimation of Vascular Open Configuration Using Finite Element Inverse Elastostatic Method”, Engineering with Computers, 25:49-59, 2009
Lu, J., Zhou, X., and Raghavan, M.L., “Inverse Method of Stress Analysis for Cerebral Aneurysms”, Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, 7(6): 477-486, 2008
Zhou, X. and Lu, J., “Inverse Formulation for Geometrically Exact Stress Resultant Shells”, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, 74(8): 1278-1302, 2008
Lu, J., Zhou, X., and Raghavan, M.L., “Computational Method of Inverse Elastostatics for Anisotropic Hyperelastic Solids”, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, 69(6): 1239-1261, 2007
Lu, J., Zhou, X., and Raghavan, M.L., “Inverse Elastostatics for Stress Analysis of Pre-deformed Biological Structures: Demonstration Using Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms”, Journal of Biomechanics, 40: 693-696, 2007
Abdel-Malek, K., Yang, J., Marler, T., Beck, S., Mathai, A., Zhou, X., Patrick, A., and Arora, J., “Towards a new generation of virtual humans”, International Journal of Human Factors Modeling and Simulation, 1(1): 2-39, 2006
Zhou, X. and Lu, J., “Biomechanical Analysis of Skeletal Muscle in an Interactive Digital Human System”, SAE Transactions: Journal of Passenger Cars - Mechanical Systems, 114: 2921-2929, 2005

Book Chapters

Kraft, R.H., Fielding, R.A., Lister, K., Shirley, A., Marler, T., Merkle, A.C., Przekwas, A.J., Tan, X.G., and Zhou,X., "Modeling Skeletal Injuries in Military Scenarios", Chapter 3 in Studies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterial, 2016, Springer.


Peer Reviewed Conference Papers

Zhou X., Roos P.E., Chen X., “Modeling of Muscle Atrophy and Exercise Induced Hypertrophy”. In: Cassenti D. (eds) Advances in Human Factors in Simulation and Modeling.  Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 591. Springer, Cham, pp. 116-127.
Whitley P.E., Roos P.E., Zhou X., “Comparison of Gender Specific and Anthropometrically Scaled Musculoskeletal Model Predictions Using the Sorensen Test”, In: Cassenti D. (eds) Advances in Human Factors in Simulation and Modeling. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 591. Springer, Cham, pp. 469-477.
Motiwale, S., Subramani, A.V., Zhou, X., Kraft, R.H., “Damage Prediction for a Cervical Spine Intervertebral Disc”, Proceedings of ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Volume 3: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering, Paper No. IMECE2016-67711, pp. V003T04A043--V003T04A043, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
Makwana, A.R., Krishna, A.R., Yuan, H., Kraft, R.H., Zhou, X., Przekwas, A. and Whitley, P., “Towards a Micromechanical Model of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration under Cyclic Loading”, Proceedings of ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Paper No. IMECE2014-39174, pp. V003T03A012--V003T03A018, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
Dura-Bernal, S., Chadderdon, G. L., Neymotin, S.A., Zhou, X., Przekwas, A., Francis, J.T., and Lytton, W.W., “Virtual Musculoskeletal Arm and Robotic Arm Driven by a Biomimetic Model of Sensorimotor Cortex with Reinforcement Learning”, Proceedings of 2013 IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium (SPMB), pp. 1-5, Brooklyn, NY, December, 2013
Zhou, X., Whitley, P., Przekwas, A., “A Fatigable Musculoskeletal Model for Prediction of Neck Maneuvering Loadings on Aviators”, Proceedings of 2nd International Digital Human Modeling Symposium, Paper No. 83, pp. 1-7, Ann Arbor, MI, June 11-13, 2013
Wilkson, P., Zhou, X., Przekwas, A., Buhrman, J., and Cheng, H., “Virtual Body Generator for Anthropometry and Physiology Based Modeling”, SAE Digital Human Modeling for Design and Engineering, Paper No. 2009-01-2280, pp. 1-9, Goteborg, Sweden, June 9-11, 2009
J. Lu, X. Zhao, and X. Zhou. “Nondestructive identification of Pointwise Elastic Properties in Nonlinear Membrane Structures”, Proceedings of 2008 NSF Engineering Research and Innovation Conference, Knoxville, Tennessee, January 2008
Yang, J., Marler, T., Beck, S., Kim, J., Wang, Q., Zhou, X., Pena Pitarch, E., Farrell, K., Patrick, A., Potratz, J., Abdel-Malek, K., Arora, J., and Nebel, K., “New Capabilities for The Virtual-Human SantosTM”, SAE 2006 World Congress, Paper No. 2006-01-0697, pp. 1-11, April 3–6, 2006.
Zhou, X. and Lu, J., “NURBS-Based Galerkin Method and Application to Skeletal Muscle Modeling”, In Proceedings of the 2005 ACM Symposium on Solid and Physical Modeling (SPM05), ACM Press, pp. 71-78, 2005.