Dr. Jesse Wheeler

Dr. Jesse Wheeler
Distinguished Keynote Speaker II

Neurotechnology: Biomedical, Biomimetic, and Beyond

Dr. Jesse Wheeler
Draper Laboratory

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 09:00 – 10:00
Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center

Abstract. Neurons are the fundamental processing units of the body and influence nearly every aspect of organ function and human experience: from movement, sensation, emotion, and learning. As such, advances in neuromodulation are opening new opportunities to treat a wide range of medical disorders and disease with high precision and reduced side effects. Even as advances in materials, miniaturization, and algorithms are enabling smaller and more dense designs around the nervous system, emerging tools in synthetic biology have opened a new and exciting frontier in the co-design with the nervous system. This talk will explore these topics—addressing key challenges, novel solutions, and emerging opportunities in neurotechnology.

Jesse Wheeler is the Neurotechnology Business Lead at Draper Laboratory. His interests include implantable micro-systems for medical therapies, biomimetic systems for efficient processing and control, and cybernetic systems that blend the boundaries between man-made and biological systems.

Jesse earned B.S. degrees in physics and biomedical engineering from Washington University in St Louis. He also conducted his doctoral research at Washington University in St Louis with a focus on brain-computer interfaces to restore movement and sensation of touch. This work includes neuro-computational modeling, neuromuscular and skeletal dynamics, design of novel chronic neural interfaces, circuit design for closed-loop neural recording and stimulation, and development of co-adaptive algorithms for accelerating learning and cooperation between humans and machines. During this time, Jesse also served as a member of the United States Air Force Security Forces.

Jesse’s work at Draper has included the development of high-density neural interfaces for deep-brain, cortical, and intrafascicular medical applications. Examples include a 320-channel closed-loop neuromodulation device for treating neuropsychiatric disorders and a wirelessly networked closed-loop system for restoring sensorimotor function in amputees. Jesse has also applied neurotechnology solutions to non-medical applications, including the development of a cybernetic micro-aerial flight platform. This system, called Dragonfleye, aims to steer the flight of cybernetic dragonfly insects using optogenetic neuromodulation. As Draper Laboratory’s Neurotechnology Business Lead, Jesse manages a diverse portfolio of neurotechnologies and directs new business and technology development strategy.