Jonathan Cagan is the Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and the George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor 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 designerswith 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 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 Award. He has authored several books, more than 250 publications, and is an inventor on multiple patents.

419 Scaife Hall
Google Scholar
Jonathan Cagan

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

President of Rwanda meets with CMU students

On Thursday May 30, a delegation of Project Rwanda students and alumni from Carnegie Mellon’s Africa, Qatar, and Pittsburgh campuses were hosted by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda at his office, Urugwiro Village, in Kigali, Rwanda.

KT Press

Cagan quoted in KT Press on CMU-Africa graduation

Interim Dean Jonathan Cagan was quoted in the KT Press about this year's CMU-Africa graduation, including he size and diversity of the class and the quality of the student projects. “These outstanding projects reflect the promise that entrepreneurship and technological development offer to both strengthen the economy and serve the needs of the continent,” said Cagan.

CMU Engineering

Congratulations Carnegie Mellon University Africa Class of 2019

Carnegie Mellon University Africa is proud to announce that 51 students graduated today, June 2, 2019, in Kigali, Rwanda.

CMU Engineering

CMU-Thailand partners visited CMU Pittsburgh campus to foster collaboration

Carnegie Mellon University Thailand (CMU-Thailand) hosted three of Thailand’s corporate leaders at CMU’s Pittsburgh campus on March 11-13, 2019. The visit was designed to foster collaboration between CMU and its new partners in Thailand.

CMU Engineering

Exploring the science of inspiration

MechE’s Professor Jon Cagan and Kosa Goucher-Lambert helped uncover how outside stimuli inspire innovation in design.

CMU Engineering

Jonathan Cagan named interim dean of the College of Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University has named Jonathan Cagan interim dean of the College of Engineering.

CMU Engineering

Faculty receive Celebration of Education Awards

Four College of Engineering faculty members will be honored at the upcoming Celebration of Education Awards on April 30: Jonathan Cagan, Rosemary Frollini, Diana Marculescu, and Baruch Fischhoff.

Integrated Innovation Institute

Innovation for all: Cagan makes classic book public

Cagan recently made Creating Breakthrough Products available for free public download.

CMU Engineering

Cagan shares keys to innovation

Faculty share the keys to creating innovative products and services through a free download of the book, Creating Breakthrough Products.

Penn State News

Cagan, McComb receive DARPA funding for problem-solving platform

MechE professor and associate dean Jonathan Cagan and MechE alumnus Christopher McComb have received funding from DARPA to aid in their design and creation of a computer platform that uses a two-tiered problem-solving language.

CMU Engineering

Synthetic muscle gets its punch from design method

Carnegie Mellon researchers design building blocks for synthetic muscle using computational method.

Medical Daily

MechE neuroimaging study featured in Medical Daily

Medical Daily recently featured a study conducted by MechE’s Jonathan Cagan and Kosa Goucher-Lambert. For the study, published in ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, the researchers looked at brain activity to learn more about how we make decisions about sustainable products.