Postdoc, Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan Abilitylab, Chicago, IL, 2018-2021
Postdoc, University of Texas Health Science Center and TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX, 2015-2018
PhD Engineering Science and Systems, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2011-2015
MSE Control Systems, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 2006-2007
BS Computer Engineering, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan, 1999-2003

Prof. Afzal joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering in January 2022 as an Assistant Teaching Professor. His research interests are in human movement control, machine learning, and neural engineering. During his PhD he worked on developing a machine learning algorithm based on the notion of muscle synergies for classification of different walking modes. Later in his career, he worked at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston where he examined the feasibility of exoskeletons for assisted walking in patients with neurological disorders. He also had the opportunity to work as a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University, where he examined the mechanisms of muscle weakness in stroke and bilateral effects of stroke on motoneuron excitability.  

As a teacher, creation of a positive classroom culture is at the forefront of his goals. He strongly believes that intrinsic motivation and passion to seek knowledge stems from the development of sense of belonging in the classroom. One of his goal is to help students transition from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. He provides his students with examples where they can relate the new concepts with their prior knowledge to create mental models, thus facilitating the learning process. His greatest desire is to provide his students with an environment that is not only conducive for their learning and growth as a biomedical engineer, but also helps them develop into an empathetic human being.