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John P Donoghue  

Henry Merritt Wriston Professor, Department of Neuroscience, The Warren Alpert Medical School; Director, Brain Science Program, Brown University

John Donoghue is the Henry Merritt Wriston Professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Brown University. Professor Donoghue also serves as director of the university’s Brain Science Program.Under Professor Donoghue’s leadership, the department of neuroscience has earned a national reputation for teaching and research excellence. In 1998, he was a driving force behind the creation of the Brain Science Program, an interdisciplinary research collaborative that brings together more than 80 faculty members from 11 departments ranging from neuroscience to mathematics, psychiatry to engineering.

Brain Science Program researchers aim to advance our understanding of brain function, human behavior, and nervous system disease. Research by Brain Science Program faculty has led to major discoveries in human vision, behavior, communication, and nervous system dysfunction as well as the fundamental codes of communication and computation used by the brain.

Professor Donoghue's research focuses on how the brain transforms thought into action. To understand this critical function, his laboratory work centers on understanding how networks of neurons represent and process complex information used in making skilled voluntary movement.

Professor Donoghue combined knowledge from his experiments with technical advances in brain recording developed in his lab to create a neurotechnology with a stunning promise – restoring movement to the paralyzed.

Most paralyzed people have normal brain function: their brains can command their muscles to move. But spinal cord, nerve or muscle damage makes such movement impossible. One seminal study in Professor Donoghue’s lab, led by student Mijail Serruya, demonstrated that the activity from a small sample of neurons recorded from the motor area of a monkey’s brain allows the animal to play a simple video game using only its mind. These findings, published in 2002 in Nature, received international attention.

In order to translate the findings into clinical applications for humans, Professor Donoghue went on to co-found Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems Inc, a company headquartered in Foxborough, MA.

Cyberkinetics translated the proof-of-concept research and the new lab technology into a system called BrainGate. The system, which consists of an implantable sensor and external processors, is currently being tested in a clinical trial enrolling as many as five quadriplegic patients. Early results suggest that a quadriplegic can use signals from his motor cortex to read email, control a television set, turn room lights on and off and play video games.

Professor Donoghue serves as a director of Cyberkinetics and as the company’s chief scientific officer.

Professor Donoghue’s work earned him a 2005 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics magazine and a 2004 Discover Award for Innovation. Reader’s Digest selected BrainGate as a top medical breakthrough of 2005.

Professor Donoghue is the author of more than 100 research articles, book chapters and abstracts, which have appeared in publications such as Nature, Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has lectured at dozens of institutions, including Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Smithsonian.

Professor Donoghue has served on review boards for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and NASA. In 2002, he received a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health. In 2004, he received the Discover Award for Innovation in neuroscience.

Professor Donoghue earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Boston University, a master of science degree in anatomy from the University of Vermont, and a doctorate degree in neuroscience from Brown University. He joined the faculty in 1984 and became the founding chair of the department of neuroscience in 1992.

News


John P. Donoghue is Taking the Lead at the Wyss Center and is ...

From Yahoo Finance: EPFL and the University of Geneva (UNIGE) are pleased to announce the appointment of John P. Donoghue. The American neuroscientist ...

John P. Donoghue is Taking the Lead at the Wyss Center and is ...

John P. Donoghue, founder of Brown University's Institute for Brain Science, has ... adjunct professor at EPFL and visiting professor at the University of Geneva.

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