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Kat M. Steele

Faculty Photo

Director of AMP Lab

Associate Director of CREATE,

HuskyADAPT Faculty Advisor

Albert Kobayashi Professor in Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering

Adjunct Associate Professor
Human Centered Design & Engineering

Pronouns: she/her/hers


Dr. Steele joined the department of mechanical engineering in September 2013 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2018. Her research focuses on integrating dynamic simulation, motion analysis, medical imaging, and device design to improve quality of life for individuals with neurologic disorders. She also co-directs AccessEngineering, an NSF-supported program to encourage individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in engineering and train all engineers in principles of universal design and accessibility. She earned her B.S. in Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. To integrate engineering and medicine, she has worked in multiple hospitals including the Denver Children’s Hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Visit the Ability & Innovation Lab for more information about Dr. Steele’s research.


  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2012
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2009
  • B.S. in Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 2007

Previous appointments

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering, University of Washington, 2014
  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2013
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 2012

Select publications

  1. CL Bennett, K Cen, KM Steele, DK Rosner, (2016) “An intimate laboratory? Prostheses as a tool for experimenting with identity and normalcy.” CHI Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  2. MH Schwartz, A Rozumalski, KM Steele, (2016) “Dynamic motor control is associated with treatment outcomes for children with cerebral palsy,” Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.
  3. KM Steele, A Rozumalski, MH Schwartz, (2015) “Muscle synergies and complexity of neuromuscular control during gait in cerebral palsy.” Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 57(12), 1176-1182. PMCID: PMC4683117
  4. KM Steele, MC Tresch, EJ Perreault, (2015). “Consequences of biomechanically constrained tasks in the design and interpretation of synergy analyses.” Journal of Neurophysiology, 113(7), 2102-2113. PMCID: PMC4416545
  5. KM Steele, MC Tresch, EJ Perreault (2013) “The number and choice of muscles impact the results of muscle synergy analyses,” Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 7:105. PMCID: PMC3737463
  6. M Yamagami, KM Steele, SA Burden (2020) "Decoding intent With control theory: comparing muscle versus manual interface performance." CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
  7. NL Zaino, KM Steele, JM Donelan, MH Schwartz, (2020) "Energy consumption does not change after selective dorsal rhizotomy in children with spastic cerebral palsy." Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.
  8. BR Shuman, M Goudriaan, K Desloovere, MH Schwartz, KM Steele, (2019) "Muscle synergies demonstrate only minimal changes after treatment in cerebral palsy." Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation.

Honors & awards

  • American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award, 2016
  • UW College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award, 2016
  • NSF CAREER Early Faculty Development Award, 2015
  • OpenSim Fellow, 2014
  • NIH K12 Career Development Award, 2013
  • Kevin Granata Young Investigator Award, 2012
  • DO-IT Trailblazer Award, 2020