JHU Biomedical Engineering Primary Faculty
Nitish V. Thakor, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Laboratory for Neuroengineering
B.Tech., Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, 1974
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison; 1978
Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, 1981
Nitish V. Thakor served on the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the Northwestern University from 1981 to 1983, and since then he has been with the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, where he is currently serving as a Professor of Biomedical Engineering. He conducts research on neurological instrumentation, biomedical signal processing, micro and nanotechnologies, neural prosthesis, and clinical applications of neural and rehabilitation technologies. He has authored more than 170 peer-reviewed publications on these subjects. He is Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Neural and Rehabilitation Engineering.
Currently Dr. Thakor directs the Laboratory for Neuroengineering and is also the Director of the NIH Training Grant on Neuroengineering. One of his current research projects, in collaboration with a multi-University consortium funded by DARPA, is to develop a next generation neurally controlled upper limb prosthesis. He is actively engaged in developing international scientific programs, collaborative exchanges, tutorials and conferences in the field of Biomedical Engineering.
Dr. Thakor is a recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, IEEE and Founding Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society. He is also a recipient of the Centennial Medal from the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering, Honorary Membership from Alpha Eta Mu Beta Biomedical Engineering Student Honor Society and Distinguished Service Award from IIT Bombay.
Neuroengineering is the emerging field defined by its use of engineering, computational and mathematical
approaches to solving problems in basic and clinical neurosciences. Our interest is to develop novel and advanced
sensors, instrumentation, micro and nanotechnologies, and signal processing algorithms for neurosciences. Our
laboratory specializes in technology development and finding clinical applications. We take projects from basic
research to industrial/commercial applications and research solutions from “bench to bedside.” Specific examples of
recent or ongoing projects are given below:
“Nano and Micro” Devices and Systems for Brain Research: We are developing novel microfabricated sensors and
devices for neuroscience research. The first example is a novel carbon microsensor for electrochemical measurement
of neurotransmitters in brain. The sensor, developed using microelectromechanical (MEMS) techniques, is based on
carbon electrodes and polymers coatings providing selectivity for neurotransmitters such as dopamine and nitric
oxide. A VLSI chip is under development to interface the microsensor to amplifiers and telemetry. Presently, a
nanosensor is under development, that will use nanofibers and nanotubules as sensing electrode materials. Another
example is a microelectrode and microfluidic array. This device is used to sense electrical activity and delivery of
drugs through microchannels from hippocampal brain slices. A third ongoing project is to develop microelectrodes
and microdrive mechanisms for recording from brain. Microelectrodes are designed using MEMS technology. The
microdrive provides precision positioning of microelectrodes for recording from individual neurons. The fourth
project is the development of a novel microscope for imaging optical transmission and light scattering from neurons
and brain slices.
Brain Monitoring, from “Basic to Applied” or from “Bench to Bedside”: We have a long term interest in studying
the basic mechanisms of brain injury, developing mathematical models of neurons and neural networks, and signal
processing methods for analyzing brain rhythms. On the basic research side, we experimentally study the molecular
and cellular aspects of ischemia such as excitotoxicity, edema and apoptosis in brain cells, brain tissue slices, and
whole brain. On the technology side, we develop signal processing algorithms for analysis of brain rhythms such as
EEG and evoked potentials. For example, we use the theories of entropy and information analysis to interpret the
brain’s response to injury. On the clinical side, we are developing diagnostic monitors for brain injury detection in
the operating room and neurological intensive care. Through a “startup”, we are doing technology transfer to take
ideas from “bench to bedside.” Our instruments are now presently approaching clinical evaluation (e.g. we
monitored patients undergoing high risk brain surgery). Another exciting application of technology is computer and
robotic assisted microsurgery on small vessels, nerve, spine and brain. We use microsensors, haptic feedback, and
virtual reality and robotics to simulate and assist with microsurgery.
From Pub Med | From Google Scholar
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