Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering faculty

Robert  Allen, PhD

Robert Allen, PhD


Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering
Lecturer in Gynecology and Obstetrics
Undergraduate Program Director (emeritus)
Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design

Office: Clark Hall 118C


BE, Engineering Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1977
MS, University of California, Berkeley, 1978
PhD, Civil Engineering, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1984

Research Interests

Birth Mechanics

Our research focuses on preventing preterm birth by earlier detection of it, preventing mechanical injuries during the birthing process and developing resuscitation technology to improve neonatal outcome. Specifically, we develop technology to detect contractions in pre-term patients before contractions become clinically evident.

To prevent mechanical injuries, we research the mechanics of birth by measuring clinician-applied forces during delivery and by developing biofidelic birth simulators to mimic mechanical aspects of birth. Simulators are used for research and for training medical students and obstetric healthcare providers in managing difficult deliveries.

Our research on neonatal airway resuscitation and pediatric cardiac resuscitation examines current clinical technology and simulation technology to explore methods of better training of health providers around the world.

Design & Design Education

Our research focuses on methods to improve design collaboration & pedagogy, and to develop and share pedagogies that produce measurable results. We observe and evaluate design processes to determine how to improve them, and measure the outcomes.

We objectively evaluate design pedagogy to judge the efficacy of a particular pedagogical approach and share those that appear most successful with design educators around the world.

Publications Search

From Pub Med   |   Google Scholar Profile

Selected Publications

Sorab J, Allen RH, Gonik B. Tactile sensory monitoring of clinician-applied forces during delivery of newborns. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 1988;35:1090-3. (Citations 39)

Gonik B, Allen R, Sorab J. Objective evaluation of the shoulder dystocia phenomenon: Effect of pelvic orientation on force reduction. Obstet Gynecol 1989;74:44-8. (Citations 81)

Allen R, Sorab J, Gonik B. Risk factors for shoulder dystocia: An engineering study of clinician-applied forces. Obstet Gynecol 1991;77:352-5. (Citations 82)

Allen RH, Sriram RD. The role of standards in innovation. Technol Forecasting Soc Change 2000;64:171-81. (Citations 98)

Nidamarthi S, Allen RH, Sriram RD. Observations from supplementing the traditional design process via internet-based collaboration tools. Int J Comp-Integ Man 2001;14:95-107. (Citations 50)

Rice J, Allen RH, Shoukas AA. Longitudinal design teams: Students teaching students. In: Proc, ASME DETC/DEC Conf, IED-21208, September 2001:5 pp.

Gurewitsch ED, Kim EJ, Yang JH, Outland KE, McDonald MK, Allen RH. Comparing McRoberts' and Rubin's maneuvers for initial management of shoulder dystocia: An objective evaluation. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2005;192:153-60. (Citations 39)

Allen RH, Gurewitsch ED. Shoulder Dystocia. eMedicine from WebMD. Updated 7 September 2011. (Monthly page views: 600+)

Pondaag W, Allen RH, Malessy MJA. Correlating birth weight with neurological severity of obstetric brachial plexus lesions. BJOG 2011;118:1098-1103. (Citations 4)

Allen, RH, Acharya S, Jancuk C, and Shoukas AA. "Sharing Best Practices in Teaching Biomedical Engineering Design." Annals of biomedical engineering (2013): 1-11.