Douglas Weber is broadly interested in understanding the role of sensory feedback in supporting and regulating a wide range of perceptual, motor, cognitive, and autonomic functions. His research combines fundamental neuroscience and engineering research to understand physiological mechanisms underlying sensory perception, feedback control of movement, and neuroplasticity in sensorimotor systems. Knowledge gained from these studies is being applied to invent new technologies and therapies for enhancing sensory and motor functions after stroke, spinal cord injury, or limb loss. These principles are also being applied to develop wearable devices for enhancing sensory, motor, and cognitive functions in healthy humans. He is committed to transitioning outputs of his academic research into practical technologies that support real-world applications, and he works actively with industrial partners to bridge the gap from bench to market.
A founding member of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, Weber created and managed a portfolio of neurotechnology research programs to support the White House BRAIN initiative, launched by President Obama in 2013. He created DARPA’s HAPTIX, ElectRx, and TNT programs, which are developing implantable, injectable, and wearable neurotechnologies that restore natural motor and sensory functions for amputees, enable novel and drug-free therapies for treating inflammatory disease and mental health disorders, and promote plasticity in the brain to enhance learning of complex cognitive skills.
Weber completed post-doctoral training in the Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Alberta. He holds eight issued United States patents and has published extensively on a wide range of topics spanning sensorimotor neurophysiology, biomechanics, neural engineering, and physical medicine. He has mentored over 100 undergraduate, graduate and medical students and several post-doctoral fellows.
Improving the Interface Between Humans and Machines
2001 Ph.D., Bioengineering, Arizona State University
2000 MS, Bioengineering, Arizona State University
1994 BS, Biomedical Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Engineering neurotechnology for paralysis after stroke
CMU and Pitt collaborators will develop and test an implantable system to electrically stimulates the spinal cord of stroke survivors to reduce arm and hand motor impairment.
Weber featured on first human brain implant
MechE’s Doug Weber is among the team monitoring the first human implant of a brain-computer interface (BCI). The BCI was implanted at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. The goal of the trial is to evaluate safety and efficacy in helping patients with ALS.
Weber’s NIH trial covered
MechE’s Douglas Weber was referenced in Bloomberg after an NIH-funded trial that he is leading with David Putrino of Mount Sinai placed a stentrode implant in its first patient.
Sensing signals in paralyzed muscles
Doug Weber and an international team of researchers detected electrical signals in paralyzed muscles, which could be used to control robotic assistive devices.
Weber study on brain implant featured
MechE’s Doug Weber recently had his research study on a brain implant that will allow paralyzed people to use a computer with their thoughts was featured in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Bridging campuses, increasing opportunities in STEM
CMU and Pitt will offer a joint MS-to-PhD program focused on AI, robotics, and neural engineering to increase the participation of underrepresented students in science and engineering.
CMU and collaborators awarded NIH grant
In collaboration with CMU, UPMC, and the Mount Sinai Health System, Synchron received a $10 million National Institutes of Health grant to begin a trial of their brain-computer interface, reports FierceBiotech, BioSpace, Medical Device Network, and Mobi Health News.
Sense and signal
A novel brain-computer interface will allow the severely paralyzed to send email messages and perform daily tasks like online shopping and banking with their minds.
Resetting travelers’ circadian clocks
Carnegie Mellon researchers are working with DARPA, Northwestern University, and Rice University to develop a system for regulating the body’s circadian clock.
Weber’s research video featured
MechE’s Doug Weber’s faculty research video was featured by IEEE Spectrum’s “Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos.”
Engineering faculty awarded professorships
Engineering faculty Peter Adams, Elizabeth Dickey, Carlee Joe-Wong, Pulkit Grover, Alan McGaughey, Rahul Panat, and Douglas Weber were awarded professorship titles in February and March 2021.
The fusion of human and machine
New faculty member Doug Weber is combining engineering and neuroscience research to solve challenges related to control and sensation in humans and robotics.