NeuroEngineering is an emerging discipline that exploits engineering techniques to understand, repair, assist and re-engineer the human nervous system. This discipline strives to develop the interface between neural tissues and machines or machine-made constructs. In academia this multi-disciplinary field draws from neuroscience, tissue engineering, material science, nanoengineering, imaging, electronic systems, signal processing, and machine learning.
Current goals of the NeuroEngineering community include computational modeling and processing of information in sensory and motor systems as well as manipulating interactions with man-made devices, including brain-machine interfaces and neural prosthetics.
Research and development in the area of NeuroEngineering has tremendous potential for applications, including the treatment of neurological diseases, cochlear and retinal implants, as well as neuroprosthetics. Designing man-made systems that interface with living neural systems also will profoundly improve our understanding of brain functioning. For this broad and deep research agenda, funding opportunities exist at NSF, NIH, private foundations, and industry.
A collaboration of Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center and University of Houston, the GCC Cluster for NeuroEngineering is uniquely positioned to make a global impact in this emerging and fast-growing area. Many elements of a world-class NeuroEngineering are already in place, given our strengths in computational, experimental and cognitive neuroscience, imaging, embedded systems, signal processing, and machine learning.
The GCC Cluster for NeuroEngineering (GCCL NE) was officially formed in 2014, after several years as a multidisciplinary and inter-institutional center. GCCL NE brings together basic and clinical researchers, as well as clinicians, from the Texas Medical Center and surrounding universities to foster advanced engineering approaches to the analysis and control of the nervous system in order to enhance and restore neuronal function.
The vision of the GCC Cluster for NeuroEngineering is to provide the intellectual, material and administrative infrastructure for collaborative engineering approaches in the Neurosciences.
The objectives are:
- To bring together engineering-minded researchers and physicians dedicated to synergistic work on the nervous system
- To support new and unconventional collaborative approaches to reverse-engineer the nervous system in order to assist both the healthy and diseased nervous systems
- To produce advanced procedures, instruments, and devices that interface with the nervous system
- To recruit and train students at all levels in NeuroEngineering techniques
- To develop collaborative grant proposals for GCCL NE members
- To reach out to the community to promote the importance of NeuroEngineering
NeuroEngineering Symposia have been held yearly since 2011 to bring together faculty interested in Neuroscience and NeuroEngineering.