Dr. Miguel Nicolelis

Miguel Nicolelis, M.D. Ph.D., is the Anne W. Deane Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology and founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. He is also Founder and Scientific Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience of Natal. As Brazil’s best known scientist, Dr. Nicolelis has been an outspoken and passionate advocate for strengthening science education, technology and innovation and was selected to lead the country’s “Commission on the Future of Brazilian Science.” His award-winning research has been published in Nature, Science, and Scientific American and has been reported in Newsweek, Time, and Discover, as well as national TV networks and international media outlets.

Although for the past decade, Dr. Nicolelis is best known for his pioneering studies of Brain Machine Interfaces (BMI) and neuroprosthetics in human patients and non-human primates, he has also developed an integrative approach to studying neurological and psychiatric disorders including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder. He has also made fundamental contributions in the fields of sensory plasticity, gustation, sleep, reward and learning. Dr. Nicolelis believes that this approach will allow the integration of molecular, cellular, systems, and behavioral data in the same animal, producing a more complete understanding of the nature of the neurophysiological alterations associated with these disorders.

As of today, numerous neuroscience laboratories in the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America have incorporated Dr. Nicolelis’ experimental paradigm to study a variety of mammalian neuronal systems. Indeed, two of his books on multi-electrode recording techniques have become the most cited works in this field. His research has influenced basic and applied research in computer science, robotics, and biomedical engineering. This multidisciplinary approach to research has become widely recognized in the neuroscience community.

Dr. Nicolelis’ research has been highlighted in MIT Review’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies. He was named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Technology Leaders in America in 2004 and has twice received the DARPA Award for Sustained Excellence by a Performer. Other honors include the Whitehead Scholar Award; Whitehall Foundation Award; McDonnell-Pew Foundation Award; the Ramon y Cajal Chair at the University of Mexico and the Santiago Grisolia Chair at Catedra Santiago Grisolia. In 2007, Dr. Nicolelis was honored as an invited speaker at the Nobel Forum at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden. More recently he was awarded the International Blaise Pascal Research Chair from the Fondation de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure and the 2009 Fondation IPSEN Neuronal Plasticity Prize. Dr. Nicolelis is a member of the French Academy of Science and the Brazilian Academy of Science and has authored over 160 manuscripts, edited numerous books and special journal issues, and holds three US patents.