2013 Walker L. Cisler Lecture
Dr. Leigh Hochberg, Associate Professor of Engineering, Brown University
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Mary E. Marburger Science and Engineering Auditorium
Dessert reception follows
Sending emails, playing computer games, drinking coffee. These activities have been impossible for people who are “locked in” their bodies – awake and alert, but unable to move or communicate due to brainstem injuries, strokes, or illnesses like ALS. Until now. Leigh R. Hochberg and his fellow researchers are developing brain-machine interfaces that allow paralyzed people to accomplish these feats and much more.
Hochberg and his colleagues found that even though the pathways connecting the brain to the rest of the body, such as the spinal cord, have been broken, the brain can still send the signals that control movement. They developed BrainGate, a neural interface system that plugs into the brain, picks up those signals, and sends them to a computer that translates them into moving a cursor or controlling a computer keyboard or robot arm. Paralyzed people can literally move objects by thinking about them! Find out how this groundbreaking research could revolutionize the lives of the disabled.
Dr. Leigh Hochberg
Assoc. Professor of Engineering, Brown University
Dr. Hochberg is vascular and critical care neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH), and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He also serves as visiting Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School; and Associate Director of the Center of Excellence for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology, Rehabilitation R&D Service, Providence VA Medical Center. His research focuses on the translation of neuroscience discoveries into devices to help patients with neurologic disease or injury. His research has been published in leading journals such as Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of Neuroscience. As Principal Investigator and lead Clinical Investigator of the pilot clinical trials of the BrainGate2 Neural Interface System, he has earned a prestigious Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award and research grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Hochberg received his Sc.B. with Honors in Neural Science from Brown University in 1990. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Emory University in 1999, where he was continued an intern in Internal Medicine. He was a resident and Chief Resident in Neurology at MGH/BWH/Harvard Medical School, where he also completed a fellowship in Stroke/Neurocritical Care in 2004.
The annual Walker L. Cisler Lecture is dedicated to the improvement of science education and is generously supported by the Holley Foundation.