Miguel Nicolelis

Professor of Neurobiology
Duke School of Medicine Professor in Neuroscience
Director, Center for Neuroengineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor in the Department of Neurology
Professor in Neurosurgery
Professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Office: 327E Bryan Research
Campus mail: GSRBII 210 Research Drive, Box 103905 Room 4028, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-4580
Email address: nicoleli@neuro.duke.edu

Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., is the Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, Duke University Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology and Neuroscience, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. He is the founder and Scientific Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience of Natal.  Dr. Nicolelis is also founder of the Walk Again Project, an international consortium of scientists and engineers, dedicated to the development of an exoskeleton device to assist severely paralyzed patients in regaining full body mobility.

Dr. Nicolelis has dedicated his career to investigate how the brains of freely behaving animals encode sensory and motor information. As a result of his studies, Dr. Nicolelis was first to propose and demonstrate that animals and human subjects can utilize their electrical brain activity to directly control neuroprosthetic devices via brain-machine interfaces (BMI).

Over the past 25 years, Dr. Nicolelis pioneered and perfected the development of a new neurophysiological method, known today as chronic, multi-site, multi-electrode recordings. Using this approach in a variety of animal species, as well as in intra-operative procedures in human patients, Dr. Nicolelis launched a new field of investigation, which aims at measuring the concurrent activity and interactions of large populations of single neurons throughout the brain. Through his work, Dr. Nicolelis has discovered a series of key physiological principles that govern the operation of mammalian brain circuits.

Dr. Nicolelis pioneering BMI studies have become extremely influential since they offer new potential therapies for patients suffering from severe levels of paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. 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. His research has influenced basic and applied research in computer science, robotics, and biomedical engineering. 

Education and Training

  • University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), M.D. 1984
  • University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), Ph.D. 1988

Associated Faculty Labs

Selected Grants and Awards

Department Affiliation

  • Department of Neurobiology