Nitish Thakor is a professor of biomedical engineering (BME), electrical and computer engineering, and neurology at Johns Hopkins University. He now directs the Laboratory for Medical Instrumentation and Neuroengineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to carry out interdisciplinary and collaborative engi-neering research on technologies for basic and clinical neurosciences.
Born in Nagpur, India, Thakor developed an early interest in both engineering and medicine. The first in his family to travel abroad and obtain a PhD, he completed a master’s degree in biomedical engineering in 1978 and a PhD in electrical and computer engineering in 1981, both from UW-Madison. While an undergraduate in electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Thakor developed his first interest in medical electronics and instrumentation. His undergraduate thesis was inspired by now-BME Professor Emeritus John Webster’s research, and he eventually joined Webster’s lab at UW-Madison. It was here that he developed the first portable microcomputer-based abnormal heart rhythm monitoring instrument under the supervision of Webster and BME Professor Willis Tompkins.
During his early career teaching at Johns Hopkins, Thakor carried out research on implantable defibrillators. He is now engaged in pioneering work on brain-monitoring technologies for neurocritical care, and more recently, on brain-machine interface and neural control of prosthetic limbs. He has published more than 200 refereed journal papers, edited one book, generated 11 patents, and co-founded three medical device companies. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal IEEE Transactions on Neural and Rehabilitation Engineering. He is also the director of a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering neuroengineering training program for doctoral students. He has supervised more than 50 graduate students and as many postdoctoral fellows and research faculty. He has given more than 25 keynote or plenary talks worldwide.
Thakor is a recipient of a research career development award from the National Institutes of Health and the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and of IEEE and is a founding fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society. His honors also include the Technical Achievement in Neural Engineering Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and a distinguished alumnus award from the Indian Institute of Technology. He and wife, Ruchira, have four children: Mitali, Milan, Jai and Vir.