Translational neural engineering: Multiple perspectives on bringing benchtop research into the clinical domain

Patrick Rousche*, David M. Schneeweis, Eric J. Perreault, Winnie Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A half-day forum to address a wide range of issues related to translational neural engineering was conducted at the annual meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Successful practitioners of translational neural engineering from academics, clinical medicine and industry were invited to share a diversity of perspectives and experiences on the translational process. The forum was targeted towards traditional academic researchers who may be interested in the expanded funding opportunities available for translational research that emphasizes product commercialization and clinical implementation. The seminar was funded by the NIH with support from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. We report here a summary of the speaker viewpoints with particular focus on extracting successful strategies for engaging in or conducting translational neural engineering research. Daryl Kipke, PhD, (Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan) and Molly Shoichet, PhD, (Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto) gave details of their extensive experience with product commercialization while holding primary appointments in academic departments. They both encouraged strong clinical input at very early stages of research. Neurosurgeon Fady Charbel, MD, (Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago) discussed his role in product commercialization as a clinician. Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD, (Director of the Neural Engineering for Artificial Limbs at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, affiliated with Northwestern University) also a clinician, described a model of translational engineering that emphasized the development of clinically relevant technology, without a strong commercialization imperative. The clinicians emphasized the importance of communicating effectively with engineers. Representing commercial neural engineering was Doug Sheffield, PhD, (Director of New Technology at Vertis Neuroscience, Inc.) who strongly encouraged open industrial-academic partnerships as an efficient path forward in the translational process. Joe Pancrazio, PhD, a Program Director at NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, emphasized that NIH funding for translational research was aimed at breaking down scientific barriers to clinic entrance. Vivian Weil, PhD, (Director of Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology) a specialist on ethics in science and engineering, spoke of the usefulness of developing a code of ethics for addressing ethical aspects of translation from the bench to clinical implementation and of translation across disciplines in multi-disciplinary projects. Finally, the patient perspective was represented by Mr Jesse Sullivan. A double-arm amputee and patient of Dr Kuiken's, Mr Sullivan demonstrated the critically important role of the patient in successful translational neural engineering research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P16-P20
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering


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