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Joseph C. McGowan

Joseph C. McGowan, PhD, PE

Visiting Research Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

Phone: 484-278-4725


Dr. McGowan specializes in the analysis of human injury, with particular expertise in the areas of traumatic brain injury, occupant kinematics, and electric shock injury. His experience includes biomechanical analysis of traumatic injuries associated with automotive and other forms of transportation, heavy equipment, machine and device design, plant operations, consumer products including watercraft, and electrical distribution. He has authored more than one hundred publications including studies of brain trauma, brain disorders, electric shock injury, and biomechanics associated with transportation-related injuries. His work in the medical device field includes consulting in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the performance of MRI compatibility testing for implantable and accessory devices. He has been admitted to testify as an expert witness in federal and state courts. A record of testimony is available upon request.

Dr. McGowan is a member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Neuroradiology and an elected Senior Member of the IEEE. He has been licensed as a Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania since 1988, and is currently also licensed in two other states. He serves as a Visiting Research Professor at Drexel University in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems. He has held an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Temple University, and he has been a guest lecturer at Princeton University. Before forming McGowan Associates, he was a Senior Managing Engineer with Exponent, Inc. He served on the faculty of the United States Naval Academy with the rank of Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and prior to that was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where his responsibilities included membership in the Graduate Group of Bioengineering, within the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He has been principal and co- principal investigator on grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health in the areas of imaging, traumatic brain injury, and brain disorders.

Dr. McGowan served for more than 31 years as an officer in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve, obtaining qualification as engineer of a nuclear powered submarine. He served as a Division Director at the United States Naval Nuclear Power School and as Commanding Officer of the senior Naval Reserve Detachment at the Office of Naval Research. His decorations include three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal and two of the Navy Commendation Medal. He attained military retirement at the rank of Captain (O-6).

As a Senior Engineer with the General Electric Company Dr. McGowan filled key supervisory roles in construction, startup, and test operations at three commercial nuclear power plants, and earned certification by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as Senior Reactor Operator.

  • President and Principal Engineer, McGowan Associates, Inc., 2011-
  • Senior Managing Engineer, Exponent, Inc, 2006-2011
  • Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Captain, United States Navy, United States Naval Academy, 2000–2006
  • Research Assistant Professor of Radiologic Science, University of Pennsylvania, 1994–2000
  • Senior Engineer, General Electric Nuclear Energy, 1983–1989 Naval Officer, United States Navy, 1976–1983 and 2006; and United States Naval Reserve, 1983–2005


  • PhD, Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1993
  • MS, Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1990
  • BS, Mathematics, United States Naval Academy, 1976 
  • Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Engineer, PE 038172R
  • New York Licensed Professional Engineer, PE 089563
  • Delaware Licensed Professional Engineer, PE 15580 
Academic Appointments
  • Visiting Research Professor, Drexel University, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems Philadelphia, 2007-Present
  • Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, Philadelphia, 2011-2012
  • Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, USNA, 2000-2006
  • Research Assistant Professor of Radiological Science, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1994- 2000

Research Interests

Brain trauma, brain disorders, electric shock injury, biomechanics associated with transportation-related injuries, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the performance of MRI compatibility testing for implantable and accessory devices.


Lucas SR, McGowan JC, Lam T, Yamaguchi GT, Carver M, Hinz A, Assessment of the TASER XREP Blunt Impact and Penetration Injury Potential using Cadaveric Testing, J Forensic Sci 2013:58 S60-68.

McGowan JC, Bussone W, Raasch C, Smith JW, Smedley J, Tractor-Semitrailer Driver and Sleeping Compartment Occupant Responses to Low-Speed Impacts, SAE 2012-01-0566.

McGowan JC, Lucas SR, Corrigan CF, Burnett RA, Levitt AE. Seatback strength and occupant response in rear impact crash: Observations with respect to large occupant size and position. SAE 2010-01-1029.

Lucas S, Ianuzzi A, Toosi K, McGowan JC, Analysis of shoulder ligament injury potential in automotive rear-end impacts. Proceedings, SAE World Congress, Detroit, Michigan, 2009-01- 1204.

McGowan JC, Shkolnikov Y, Sala J, Ray R. Diffuse electrical injury: A questionable phenomenon. Biomedical Engineering, Recent Developments (ISBN 978-1-930636-07-1) 2008; 65–67. McGowan JC, Shkolnikov Y, Sala J Ray R. Diffuse electrical injury: Questioning the scientific basis. IEEE Proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering, Niagara Falls, 2008,pp. 1977– 1980.

McGowan JC, Fisher JL, Lucas SR. Biomechanical analysis of occupant kinematics: Interpretation of witness marks. Proceedings of the ASME 2008 Summer Bioengineering Conference, p. 192654, 2008.

Lucas SL, Fisher J, McGowan JC. Reconstruction and biomechanical analysis of low-speed automobile crashes. Proceedings of the ASME 2008 Summer Bioengineering Conference p. 92843, 2008.

Ives RW, McGowan JC, Etter DM, Du Y. Signal processing outreach at the U.S. Naval Academy. IEEE Signal Processing 2006; 11:10-12.

Vite CH, McGowan JC, Niogi SN, Passini MA, Drobatz KJ, Haskins ME, Wolfe JH. Effective gene therapy for an inherited CNS disease in a large animal model. Ann Neurol 2005; 57(3):355-364.

Hurley RA, McGowan JC, Arfanakis K, Taber KH. Traumatic axonal injury: Novel insights into evolution and identification. J Neuropsych Clin Neurosci 2004; 16 (1):1–7.

McGowan JC, Wallace SK. Synergy of a combined near- infrared spectroscopy and blood oxygenation level- dependent functional activation study. AJNR 2004; 25 (7):1127-1128.

Ge Y, Grossman RI, McGowan, JC, Udupa J. Magnetization transfer ratio histogram analysis of normal appearing gray matter and normal appearing white matter in MS. JCAT 2002; 26:62-68. McGowan JC. On the use of quantitative MR imaging. Am J Neuroradiol 2001; 22:1451-1452.

Van Buchem MA, Steens SCA, Vrooman HA, Zwinderman AH, McGowan JC, Rassek M, Engelbrecht V. Global estimation of myelination in the developing brain on the basis of magnetization transfer imaging: A preliminary study. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2001; 22:762-766.

Vite CH, McGowan JC, Braund KG, Drobatz KJ, Glickson JD, Wolfe JH, Haskins ME. Histopathology, electrodiagnostic testing, and magnetic resonance imaging show significant peripheral and central nervous system myelin abnormalities in the cat model of alpha- mannosidosis. J Neuropathol Exper Neurol 2001; 60 (8):817-827.

Ge Y, Grossman RI, Udupa JK, Babb JS, Kolson DL, McGowan JC. Magnetization transfer histogram analysis of gray matter in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Am J Neuroradiol 2001; 22:470-475.

Sinson G, Bagley LJ, Cecil KM, Torchia M, McGowan JC, Lenkinski RE, McIntosh TK, Grossman RI. Magnetization transfer imaging and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the evaluation of axonal injury and correlation with clinical outcome in traumatic brain injury. Am J Neuroradiol 2001; 22:143-151.

Vite CH, McGowan JC. Magnetization transfer imaging of the canine brain: A review. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2001; 42(8):5-8. McGowan JC. Technical issues for MRI examination of the spinal cord. J Neurol Sci 2000; 172:S27-S31.

McGowan JC, Patel R. Technical issues for MRI examination of the posterior fossa. J Neurol Sci 2000; 172:S40-S42.

McGowan JC, Berman JI, Lavi E, Ford JC, Hackney D. Characterization of experimental spinal cord injury with magnetization transfer histograms. JMRI 2000; 12:247- 254. McGowan JC, Haskins ME, Wenger D, Vite C. Investigating demyelination in the brain in a canine model of globoid cell leukodystrophy (Krabbe Disease) using magnetization transfer contrast. JCAT 2000; 24 (2):316-321.

McGowan JC, Yang JH, Plotkin RC, Grossman RI, Umile EM, Cecil KM, Bagley LJ. Magnetization transfer imaging in the detection of injury secondary to mild head trauma. AJNR 2000; 21:875-880.

Catalaa I, Grossman RI, Kolson DL, Wei L, Zhang X, Nyul L, Udupa JK, Polansky M, Mannon LJ, McGowan JC. Magnetization transfer histogram analysis of segmented normal-appearing white matter in multiple sclerosis. Radiology 2000; 216:351-355.

Bagley LJ, Grossman RI, Galetta SL, Sinson GP, Kotapka M, McGowan JC. Characterization of white matter lesions in multiple sclerosis using magnetization transfer contour plots. AJNR 1999; 20:977-981.

Bagley LJ, Grossman RI, McGowan JC. Magnetization transfer contrast: Its utility as a technique and its application to central nervous system pathology. Neurology 1999; 53(Suppl. 3):S49–S51.

Bagley LJ, McGowan JC, Grossman RI, Sinson G, Kotapka G, Lexa FJ, Berlin JA, McIntosh TK. Magnetization transfer imaging of traumatic brain injury—A predictor of patient outcome. AJNR 1999.

Catalaa I, Fulton JC, Zhang X, Udupa JK, Kolson D, Grossman M, Wei L, McGowan JC, Grossman RI. MRI quantitation of gray matter involvement in multiple sclerosis and its correlation with disability measures and neurocognitive testing. AJNR 1999; 20:1613-1618.

McGowan JC, McCormack TM, Grossman RI, Mendonca R, Chen X, Berlin J, Meaney D, Xu B, Cecil K, McIntosh TK, Smith D. Diffuse axonal pathology detected with magnetization transfer imaging following brain injury in the pig. Mag Reson Med 1999; 41:727-733.

McGowan JC. Fast spin-echo and FLAIR imaging. Views Radiol 1999; 1(2):25-28 (in Japanese).

McGowan JC. The physical basis of magnetization transfer imaging. Neurology 1999; 53(Suppl 3):S3–S7.

Miki Y, Grossman RI, Udupa JA, Van Buchem MA, Wei L, Phillips MD, Patel U, McGowan JC, Kolson DL. T2- lesion volume, enhancing lesion volume, whole brain magnetization transfer ratio histogram peak height, % brain volume and expanded disability status scale: Difference in cross-sectional correlations between relapsing remitting and chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. Radiology 1999; 213:395-399.

Miki Y, Grossman RI, Udupa JK, Van Buchem MA, Wei L, Phillips MD, Patel U, McGowan JC, Kolson DL. Differences between relapsing-remitting and chronic progressive multiple sclerosis as determined with quantitative MR imaging. Radiology 1999; 210:769-774.

Patel UJ, Grossman RI, Phillips MD, McGowan JC, Miki YI, Wei L, Polansky M, Van Buchem MA, Udupa JK, Kolson DL. Serial analysis of magnetization transfer histograms and expanded disability status scale in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis patients. AJNR 1999; 20:1946-1950.  

Van Buchem MA, McGowan JC, Grossman RI. Magnetization transfer histogram methodology: Its clinical and neuropsychological correlates. Neurology 1999; 53(Suppl 3):S23– S28.

Grossman RI, McGowan JC. Perspectives on multiple sclerosis. AJNR 1998; 19:1251-1265.

Barkhof F, McGowan JC, Van Waesberghe J, Grossman RI. Hypointense MS lesions on T1-weighted spin-echo MR images: Their contribution in understanding MS evolution. JNNP 1998; 64(Suppl.):S77-S79.

McGowan JC, Filippi M, Campi A, Grossman RI. Magnetization transfer imaging: Theory and application to multiple sclerosis. JNNP 1998; 64(Suppl.):S66-S69.

Phillips MD, Grossman RI, Miki Y, Wei L, Kolson DL, Van Buchem MA, Polansky M, McGowan JC, Udupa JK. Correlation of T2 lesion volume and MTR histogram analysis with atrophy in multiple sclerosis. AJNR 1998;


Van Buchem MA, Grossman RI, Armstrong C, Polansky M, Miki Y, Heyning F, Boncouer-Martell M, Wei L, Udupa J, Grossman M, Kolson D, McGowan JC. Correlation of quantitative volumetric magnetization transfer imaging with clinical and neuropsychological data in multiple sclerosis. Neurology 1998; 50:1609-1617.

Van Buchem MA, Udupa JK, McGowan JC, Miki Y, Heyning FH, Boncoeur-Martel MP, Kolson DL, Polansky M, Grossman RI. Global volumetric estimation of disease burden in multiple sclerosis based on magnetization transfer imaging. AJNR 1997; 18:1287- 1290.

Kasner SE, Galetta SL, McGowan JC, Grossman RI. Magnetization transfer imaging in progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Neurology 1997; 48:534-536.

Van Buchem MA, McGowan JC, Kolson DL, Polansky M, Grossman RI. Quantitative volumetric magnetization transfer analysis in multiple sclerosis: Estimation of macroscopic and microscopic disease burden. Mag Reson Med 1996; 36:632-636.

Petrella JR, Grossman RI, McGowan JC, Campbell GC, Cohen JA. Magnetization transfer measurements of enhancing and non-enhancing multiple sclerosis lesions: Pathways of enhancement. AJNR 1996; 17:1041-1049.

Kimura H, Meaney DF, McGowan JC, Grossman RI, Lenkinski RE, Ross DT, McIntosh TK, Gennarelli TA, Smith DH. Magnetization transfer imaging of diffuse axonal injury following experimental brain injury in the pig: Characterization by magnetization transfer ratio with histopathologic correlation. J Comp Ass Tom 1996; 20(4):540-546.

Loevner LA, Grossman RI, McGowan JC, Ramer KN, Cohen JA. Characterization of multiple sclerosis plaques identified on T1- weighted imaging using magnetization transfer contrast. AJNR 1995; 16:1473- 1479.

Wong KT, Grossman RI, Boorstein JM, Lexa FJ, McGowan JC. Magnetization transfer imaging of periventricular hyperintense white matter in the elderly. AJNR 1995; 16:253-258.

McGowan JE, McGowan JC, Mishra OP. Delivoria- Papadopoulos, effect of cyclooxygenase inhibition on brain cell membrane lipid peroxidation during hypoxia in newborn piglets. Biol Neonate 1994; 66:367-375.

Boorstein JM, Wong KT, Grossman RI, Bolinger L, McGowan JC. Metastatic lesions of the brain: Imaging with magnetization transfer. Radiology 1994; 191:799- 803.

McGowan JC, Leigh J. Selective saturation in magnetization transfer experiments. Mag Resn Med 1994; 32:517-522. McGowan JC, Schotland J, Leigh J. Oscillations, stability, and equilibrium in magnetic exchange networks. J Mag Res Series A 1994; 108:201-205.

McGowan JC, Schnall MD, Leigh J. Magnetization transfer imaging with pulsed off resonance saturation: Contrast variation with saturation duty cycle. J Mag Res Imag 1994; 4:79-82.

McGowan JC. Transmission line matrix modeling: Novel approaches to analysis of underwater acoustics. Eur Sci News Inform Bull 1993; 6:257–263.

McGowan JC, Hatabu H, Yousem DM, Randall P, Kressel HY. Evaluation of soft palate function with magnetic resonance imaging: Application to the cleft palate patient. J Comp Ass Tom 1992; 16:877-882.

Hatabu H, Gefter W, Listerud J, Hoffman E, Axel L, McGowan JC, Palevsky H, Hayes C, Konishi J, Kressel H. Pulmonary MR angiography utilizing phased-array surface coils: preliminary results. J Comp Ass Tom 1992; 16:410-417.

Book Chapters and Reviews
McGowan JC. Vol.18, No. 4, pp. 623–636. Basic principles of magnetic resonance imaging. In: Neuroimaging Clinics of North America. Filippi M (ed), Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Filippi M, McGowan JC, Tortorella C. Magnetization transfer imaging. In: Multiple Sclerosis: Tissue Destruction and Repair and New Immunological Treatments, Third Edition. Kappos L, Kesselring L, Radu EW (eds), Martin Dunitz, 2005.

McGowan JC. Magnetization transfer. In: MR Imaging in White Matter Diseases of the Brain and Spinal Cord. Filippi M, DeStefano N, Dousset V, McGowan JC (eds), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2005.

McGowan JC. Fast imaging with an introduction to K- space. pp. 41–56. In: MR Imaging in White Matter Diseases of the Brain and Spinal Cord. Filippi M, DeStefano N, Dousset V, McGowan JC (eds), Springer- Verlag, Berlin, 2005.

Fishbein KW, McGowan JC, Spencer RG. Hardware for magnetic resonance imaging. pp. 13-28. In: MR Imaging in White Matter Diseases of the Brain and Spinal Cord. Filippi M, DeStefano N, Dousset V, McGowan JC (eds), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2005. McGowan JC. Magnetic resonance imaging and magnetization transfer. Vol. 118, pp. 1-83. In: Advances in Imaging and Electron Physics. Hawkes PS (ed), Academic Press, Oxford, 2001.

McGowan JC. Optimization and standardization of magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques for multicentre, longitudinal, multiple sclerosis studies. pp. 113–119. In: Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Multiple Sclerosis. Filippi M, Arnold D (eds), Springer- Verlag, Milano, 2001.

McGowan JC. The physical basis of magnetic resonance spectroscopy. pp. 33–49. In: Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Multiple Sclerosis. Filippi M, Arnold D (eds), Springer-Verlag, Milano, 2001.

Filippi M, McGowan JC, Tortorella C. Magnetization transfer imaging. In: Multiple Sclerosis: Tissue Destruction and Repair and New Immunological Treatments. Kappos L, Kesselring L, Radu EW (eds), Martin Dunitz, 2000. 

McGowan JC. Measures of magnetization transfer. In: Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics. Rudick RA, Goodkin DE (eds), Martin- Dunitz, London, 1999.

McGowan, JC. Magnetisation transfer imaging. In: Imaging in Multiple Sclerosis. MS Forum, PPS Europe Ltd., 1997.

Wehrli FW, McGowan JC. The basis of MR contrast in magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spine. Atlas SW (ed), New York, Raven Press, 1996.

McGowan JC. Magnetic resonance in physiological monitoring and instrument diagnosis. In: Perinatal Medicine. Hay Jr. WW, Brans Y (eds), Cambridge University Press, New York, 1995.

Invited Lectures (selected)
McGowan J. Biomechanics of Brain Injury, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, February 23, 2012

McGowan J. Analysis of Electrical Injury, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, December 1, 2011.

McGowan J. Testing for MRI Compatibility, MEDevice Forum, San Diego, CA September 13, 2011

McGowan J. Electrical injury mechanisms. Edison Electric Institute, Palm Beach, FL, September 21, 2010.

McGowan J. MRI compatibility for medical devices. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Princeton University, March 30, 2010.

McGowan J. Biomechanics of traumatic brain injury. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, March 16, 2009.

McGowan J. Traumatic brain injury: Anatomy, imaging, and biomechanics. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, March 31, 2009.

McGowan J. Mathematics of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Department of Mathematics, Villanova University, March 14, 2008.

Abstracts and Conference Proceedings (selected from a total of 57)
Lucas SR, McGowan JC, Salzar RS, Planchak C, Getz J. Biomechanical assessment of small craft collisions. Chesapeake Power Boat Symposium, Annapolis, MD, 2010.

Becerra L, McGowan JC. Initial field experience with the Infrascanner hand-held cerebral hematoma detector. Advanced Technology Applications for Combat Casualty Care (ATACCC) St. Petersburg, August 2008.

McGowan, JC, Ge Y, Grossman RI, Udupa JK, Babb JS, Kolson DL. Magnetization transfer ratio histogram analysis of gray matter in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Radiology Society of North America 2000 Scientific Program, 86th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL, November 26– December 1, 2000.

McGowan, JC, Vite CH, Wenger DA, Haskins ME. Monitoring the efficacy of bone marrow transplantation in globoid cell leukodystrophy with quantitative magnetization transfer imaging. International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, May 22–28, 1999.

McGowan, JC, Ge Y, Grossman RI, Udupa J, Babb JS, Nyul L. Tissue characterization in relapsing-remitting and secondary- progressive MS via magnetization transfer ratio. Proc. Int. Soc. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 7th Scientific Meeting and Exhibition, Vol. 2, May 22-28, 1999.