Jonathan Cagan is the David and Susan Coulter Head and George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His career spans collaborative and innovative work in education, research, and industry.

Researching engineering design automation and methods, Cagan merges AI, machine learning, and optimization methods with cognitive science problem solving. One focal area is the cognitive basis and computational modeling of designer processes to improve the effectiveness of human designers, with a focus on hybrid human/AI teams. Another area includes computational methods for the design and diagnosis of biomechanical systems. An additional focus is in user-centered design and integrated product development practice. He exemplifies the college’s culture of advanced collaboration, having worked with engineers, psychologists, neuro-scientists, marketers, designers, computer scientists, and architects in his work.

At Carnegie Mellon, Cagan co-founded and co-directed the Integrated Innovation Institute and served as interim dean, and, prior, associate dean for graduate and faculty affairs and chief academic officer, of the College of Engineering. Cagan was recently honored with the Robert A. Doherty Award for Sustained Contributions to Excellence in Education. Active in professional societies and editorial boards, Cagan is a Fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and was awarded with the ASME Design Theory and Methodology, Design Automation, and Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Awards. He has authored several books, more than 300 publications, and is an inventor on multiple patents.

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Jonathan Cagan
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Integrated Design Innovation Group

Human-AI Teaming

Design and Innovation


1990 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

1985 MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester

1983 BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

New online graduate certificates to launch this fall

Carnegie Mellon’s entry into online education will provide working professionals flexible access to world class graduate-level training in emerging and evolving technologies.

CMU Engineering

Akinci, Cagan, and VanBriesen named 2022 AAAS Fellows

Burcu Akinci, Jonathan Cagan, and Jeanne VanBriesen, senior faculty members in the College of Engineering, have been named 2022 AAAS Fellows.

CMU Engineering

Jon Cagan named head of Mechanical Engineering

Jon Cagan will be the new head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, effective November 1, 2022.

Design Conference 2022

Cagan delivers keynote on AI-human hybrid teaming

MechE Interim Head Jonathan Cagan delivered a keynote speech at the Design Conference on AI-human hybrid teaming.


AI research featured in podcast

Featured on the podcast The Next Byte, new research by shows that AI may soon be taking over managerial positions and doing a better job at them.

CMU Engineering

Automating engineering’s ideal manager

A recent paper by a collaboration of CMU mechanical engineering and psychology researchers explored the use of artificial intelligence as a process manager for human design teams.

2021 Engineering faculty award winners selected

Congratulations to the 2021 CMU Engineering Faculty Awards winners.

CMU Engineering

Bringing students into the next industrial revolution

Students taking a new course combine rapidly expanding technologies to create innovative solutions for real societal problems.

Florida News Times

Cagan and Taylor’s research on DNA origami featured

MechE’s Jonathan Cagan and Rebecca Taylor’s research on DNA origami was featured in Florida News Times.

CMU Engineering

Using DNA for tiny tech

Tito Babatunde and her advisors Rebecca Taylor and Jon Cagan are combining their expertise to optimize designs for DNA origami nanostructures.

CMU Engineering

Predictive placentas: Using AI to protect mothers’ future pregnancies

In partnership with UPMC, Carnegie Mellon researchers developed a machine learning approach for examining placenta samples to determine if mothers are at risk for complications in future pregnancies.

CMU Mechanical Engineering

Cagan receives ASME award

MechE’s Jonathan Cagan has been named the 2020 recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award.