Nitish Thakor
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, USA

Dr. Thakor is one of the distinguished pioneers of the field of neuroengineering. He is recognized for his leadership in naming and shaping the discipline as well as contributing significantly to its understanding and maturation. He has written many peer reviewed papers and served as the keynote speaker at many conferences. In parallel, he has authored or co-authored nearly 200 archival publications and, served as Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. Dr. Thakor’s outstanding accomplishments in the field of neuroengineering are numerous. He has excelled in three major areas in particular: analyzing and monitoring brain injury using advanced signal processing methods; developing vital technology for neural interfaces; leading the development of neural prosthetics capable of dexterous manipulation. These directions are naturally complementary.

Dr. Thakor’s work in analyzing and monitoring brain injury resulting from cardiac arrest using advancing signal processing techniques showed that EEG, EP and neural spike activities were altered as a result of brain injury. This has led to better procedures and measures that can be used to predict and forecast outcomes after such injuries. He built on the success of these studies to embark on the next frontier: the neural interface. He and his students and colleagues developed the next generation circuitry to detect electrical and neurochemical signals from the brain. They have extended the use of these very large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits to wireless data and telemetry. In addition, they developed novel applications of functional optical brain imaging. The significance of this research has been widely acknowledged and Dr. Thakor’s expertise and leadership in this area are unparalleled.

The third frontier that Dr. Thakor is spearheading is neural prosthetics. He is leading the development of a neural interface technology that uses signal processing and decoding to interpret brain signals in neural prosthetics capable of dexterous manipulation. This research is an integral part of DARPA’s “Revolutionary Prosthesis” programs and offers tremendous potential. The goal of Dr. Thakor’s research centers on basic research as well as technology development and clinical applications. He has demonstrated that the emerging field of Neuroengineering is poised to address the growing need for life saving and life enhancing solutions for neurological disorders and injuries.