Nitish V. Thakor, Ph.D.

Headshot of Nitish V. Thakor
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests

Biomedical instrumentation and computer applications in medicine; Biomedical sensors; Biomedical signal processing; Robotics more


Dr. Nitish Thakor is a professor of biomedical engineering and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also has an appointment in the Johns Hopkins Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He conducts research on neurological instrumentation, biomedical signal processing, micro and nanotechnologies, neural prosthesis, clinical applications of neural and rehabilitation technologies, and brain-machine interface.

Dr. Thakor directs the Laboratory for Neuroengineering and is also the director of the NIH Training Grant on Neuroengineering.

One of Dr. Thakor’s research projects, in collaboration with a multi-university consortium funded by DARPA, focuses on developing a next generation neurally controlled upper limb prosthesis. He is actively engaged in developing international scientific programs, collaborative exchanges, tutorials and conferences in the field of biomedical engineering.

He received his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, in Bombay, India. He earned both a M.S. in and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Thakor joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1983.

Dr. Thakor is a co-author of more than 250 refereed journal papers and is currently the editor-in-chief of Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing. He was also the editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering from 2005 - 2011. In addition, Dr. Thakor is a recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, IEEE, Founding Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and Fellow of International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering. more


  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Neurology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes

Research & Publications

Research Summary

When Dr. Thakor came to Johns Hopkins 25 years ago, he was interested in deciphering heart rhythms, research that was relevant to pacemaker technology. About 10 to 15 years ago, his clinical collaborators brought to his attention the challenging problem of monitoring brain injury patients. He felt that detecting the changes in brain rhythms, using novel signal analysis methods might help doctors more objectively detect or treat different injuries. When the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency solicited a program to “revolutionize” prosthetics, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab won the competition, and Dr. Thakor got involved with the idea of using his expertise at analyzing brain rhythms to control prosthetics.

Nitish Thakor's Biomedical Instrumentation and Neuroengineering Lab has developed prosthetic fingertips that "feel" temperature with skin-like cosmesis embedded with sensors. His research team of more than 20 students and faculty are using robotics to help develop the next generation of prosthetics.


The mission and interest of the Laboratory for Neuroengineering is to develop novel instrumentation and technologies to study the brain at several levels—from single cell to the whole brain—with the goal of translating the work into practical research and clinical applications.

The lab personnel include diverse, independent-minded and entrepreneurial group of students, post docs, and research faculty who base their research on modern microfabrication, stem cell biology, electrophysiology, signal processing, image processing and integrated circuit design technologies.

Lab Website: Neuroengineering and Biomedical Instrumentation Lab

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

McMullen D, Hotson G, Katyal K, Wester B, Fifer M, McGee T, Harris A, Johannes M, Vogelstein R, Ravitz A, Anderson W, Thakor N, Crone N. “Demonstration of a Semi-Autonomous Hybrid Brain-Machine Interface using Human Intracranial EEG, Eye Tracking, and Computer Vision to Control a Robotic Upper Limb Prosthetic.” IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2013 Dec 12.

Tsytsarev V, Liao LD, Kong KV, Liu YH, Erzurumlu RS, Olivo M, Thakor NV. “Recent progress in voltage-sensitive dye imaging for neuroscience.” J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2014 Jul;14(7):4733-44.

Kong KV, Liao LD, Lam Z, Thakor NV, Leong WK, Olivo M. “Organometallic carbonyl clusters: a new class of contrast agents for photoacoustic cerebral vascular imaging.” Chem Commun (Camb). 2014 Mar 11;50(20):2601-3. doi: 10.1039/c3cc48529c.

Li N, van Zijl P, Thakor N, Pelled G. “Study of the Spatial Correlation Between Neuronal Activity and BOLD fMRI Responses Evoked by Sensory and Channelrhodopsin-2 Stimulation in the Rat Somatosensory Cortex.” J Mol Neurosci. 2014 Jan 19.

Liao LD, Orellana J, Liu YH, Lin YR, Vipin A, Thakor NV, Shen K, Wilder-Smith E. “Imaging of temperature dependent hemodynamics in the rat sciatic nerve by functional photoacoustic microscopy.” Biomed Eng Online. 2013 Nov 18;12:120. doi: 10.1186/1475-925X-12-120.

Activities & Honors


  • 2nd Prize Student Paper Competition, ACEMB Conference, 1979
  • Fellow, AIMBE, 1996
  • Fellow, IEEE, 1997
  • Research Career Development Award, NIH, 1985
  • Presidential Young Investigator Award, NSF, 1985 - 1991
  • 1st Prize Paper Competition, SCAMC Conference, 1981
  • Centennial Achievement Medal, University of Wisconsin School of Engineering, 1991
  • Fulbright Award, 1987

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