Dr. Karim A. Abdel-Malek (Karim Malek)
Senior Associate to the Provost
Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics
Founder & Director, Virtual Soldier Research program (VSR)
irector, Center for Computer Aided Design

The University of Iowa
Tel. (319) 335-5676



Iowa-Logo-web.jpg (11619 bytes)
College of Engineering


Design contest
AUB Students

Photo credit: Joe Pyle Photography


The center for Computer Aided Design

The Virtual Soldier Research

Santos Human Inc.


Past work:

 DHL-web.jpg (19920 bytes)
The Digital Humans Laboratory

VSRLogo-web.jpg (28028 bytes)
Virtual Soldier Research (VSR)


Santos-move-web.jpg (15691 bytes)

Graduate students:
PhD students are encouraged to submit an application to either Biomedical or Mechanical Engineering.  Please contact me directly for a research assistantship


State of Iowa Board of Regents Faculty Excellence Award 2012

President (elected), International Society for Human Simulation (ISHS) 2011.

Fellow, American Institute of Medical and Biomedical Engineering, 2011

IIE/Joint Publishers Book-of-the-Year Award, Handbook of Military Industrial Engineering, (chapter 2010) 

SAE Digital Human Modeling Most Outstanding Small Group Presentation 2007

Excellence in Research Award, College of Engineering, UI, 2007

Prometheus award: Top Technology of the Year, Iowa Technology Association, Des Moines , Iowa , 2007.

Editor, International Journal of Human Modeling and Simulation (2007-2010).

Guest Editor, CAD Journal, special issue on Human Modeling and Simulation (2006).

Outstanding Paper Award, International Engineering Congress, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), The 3rd Symposium on Virtual Manufacturing

Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award, EON reality, Irvine , CA (for “…most innovative implementation of software…”, selected from over 7000 users (2002).

SAE Arch T. Colwell best paper award for “Towards understanding the workspace of the upper extremities”, selected from 3000 papers for trechnical Merit, Society of Automotive Engineers (2002).

DaVinci celebration leadership and excellence award, State of Iowa (2001).

Nominated to the Frontiers of Engineering, National Academy of Engineering (2000).

John T. Parsons Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (2000).

UTI Corporate Award, 1991/92 and 1992/93, Industry support for research.

University of Pennsylvania Fellowship , 1990/91, fully funded.

Fulbright Scholar, 1988/89 and 1989/90, United States Information Agency (USIA).

IAESTE Scholar, 1987 (International Association for Exchange of Students for Technical Experience), University of Twente , Enschede, Holland .


Dr. Karim Abdel-Malek (Karim Malek) is nationally and internationally recognized in the areas of robotics and human simulation.  He is a Professor of  Biomedical Engineering at the University of Iowa.  He is the Director of the Center for Computer Aided Design, a world renowned research center with 7 departments, including a national lab.   Under his leadership, the Center has grown from 30 researchers to about 150 (scientists, engineers, and support staff) over a period of  7 years and a substantial portfolio of research spanning the Modeling and Simulation area.  

Dr. Abdel-Malek leads projects with all services of the US Military (US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, and the US Marines), and several industry partners including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Rockwell Collins, Caterpillar, and others.  Dr. Abdel-Malek has executive management experience and is an entrepreneur that has launched basic research into commercial products.  His research on human modeling and simulation has attained international recognition, has been published in many prestigious journals such as the Journal of Biomechanics, and has been featured in several respected science media outlets such as the Discovery Channel.  The Virtual Soldier Research program has brought to the University of Iowa major funding and exposure.  While CCAD as a Center has sustained growth, the Virtual Soldier has exhibited significant growth and remarkable achievements in terms of the level of funding, scholarly productivity, and industry engagement.

Dr. Malek has founded or co-founded three private companies in the simulation, robotics, and educational fields.  Along with his team, he is the creator of SANTOS®, a human modeling and simulation environment that is used by military and commercial clients to assess human factors issues in the design of equipment, armament, vehicles, and other large equipment.  

Dr. AbdelMalek received his MS and PhD degrees in robotics and simulation from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Jordan. He has authored or co-authored over 220 technical papers and 2 US Patents.  He is a Fellow of AIMBE, is the elected President of the International Society for Human Simulation (ISHS), and is the recipient of many international awards including the Board of Regents Faculty Excellence award, the College of Engineering Award for Exceptional Research, the Fulbright Scholarship, the John T. Parsons Outstanding Manufacturing Engineer award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), The Arch T. Colwell Best paper award from the Soceity of Automotive Engineers (SAE).  He has served as the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Robotics and Automation and has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Human Modeling and Simulation.

Dr. Abdel-Malek serves on the board of three private companies and as a Board of Trustees member of the American University of Madaba in Jordan.

Dr. Abdel-Malek helped with establishing three companies:

Viz-Tek, Inc.

Cyber-Anatomy Corp.

Santos Human, Inc.


Dr. Abdel-Malek's research is in human modeling and simulation. He is co-inventor of the Predictive Dynamics method for simulating human motion.

 Sample Publications (selected from 180):

1.      Karim Abdel-Malek (Guest Editor): Human modeling and applications special issue. Computer-Aided Design 39(7): 539 (2007)

2.      Kim, J., Yang, J., and Abdel-Malek, K., "A Novel Formulation for Determining Joint Constraint Loads during  Optimal Dynamic Motion of Redundant Manipulators in DH  Representation,"Multibody System Dynamics, Vol. 19, n. 4, 2008, 427-451.

3.      Kim, H.J., Wang, Q., Rahmatallah, S., Swan, C., Arora, J., Abdel-Malek, K., , and Assouline, J. “Dynamic Motion Planning of 3D Human Locomotion Using Gradient-Based Optimization”, ASME J. Biomech. Eng. -- June 2008 -- Volume 130, Issue 3, 031002.

4.      Yang, J., and Abdel-Malek, K., Human Reach Envelope and Zone Differentiation for Ergonomic Design, Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing,Vol. 19, Issue 1, 15-34, 2009.

5.      Abdel-Malek, K., Arora, J., Yang, J., Marler, T., Beck, S., Kim, J., Bhatt, R., Swan, C., Frey-Law, L., Mathai, A., Murphy, C., Rahmatalla, S., and Patrick, A., A Physics-Based Digital Human Model, International Journal of Vehicle Design, Vol. 51, No. 3/4, 2009, 324-340.

6.      Yujiang Xiang Hyun-Joon Chung Joo H. Kim Rajankumar Bhatt Salam Rahmatalla Jingzhou Yang Timothy Marler Jasbir S. Arora Karim Abdel-Malek"Predictive dynamics: an optimization-based novel approach for human motion simulation", Struct Multidisc Optim., DOI 10.1007/s00158-009-0423-z, Springer, 2009.

7.      Joo H. Kim, Yujiang Xiang, R. M. Bhatt, Jingzhou Yang, H.-J. Chung, Jasbir Arora, Karim Abdel-Malek: “Generating Effective Whole-Body Motions of a Human-like Mechanism with Efficient ZMP Formulation”. Int. J. Robotics and Automation 24(2): (2009)

8.      Yujiang Xiang, Jasbir S. Arora Salam Rahmatalla Timothy Marler Rajankumar Bhatt Karim Abdel-Malek"Human lifting simulation using a multi-objective optimization approach", Multibody Syst Dyn, 11044-009-9186-y, Springer, 2010.



Contact me

1994-2012 Copyright The University of Iowa