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The Center for Neural Engineering (CNE) in the Viterbi School of Engineering (VSoE) at USC is distinguished by scientists collaborating on research projects that lie at the interface of biomedical engineering, neuroscience, and medicine. The projects are inherently inter-disciplinary and seek solutions to fundamental problems about the brain that cannot be resolved without integrating concepts, methodologies, and technical approaches originating from multiple fields.

Neural engineering is widely acknowledged to be a major driving force for science and technology developments of the 21st century. The tremendous growth in the field of neuroscience has allowed an in-depth understanding of the biological basis of information processing in the brain. Major breakthroughs in mathematical modeling and computing platforms now allow quantitative modeling of the computational properties of neural systems. Technological advances in the fields of electronics and photonics offer unique opportunities to develop microchip implementations of biologically-based models of neural systems. Complementary advances in molecular biology and materials science offer the possibility of biocompatible interfaces between neural and computer systems.

From synergistic convergence among these key scientific approaches has emerged:

  • The ability to formulate large-scale computer models of neuronal processes to reverse engineer the brain

  • The capability of realizing electronic/photonic devices that mimic brain functions,

  • The technology to support bi-directional communication between computers and the brain, and,

  • Biomimetic systems that can replace brain functions lost due to damage or disease.

The Director of the CNE, Theodore W. Berger, Ph.D., has a primary appointment in Biomedical Engineering, a secondary appointment in Biological Sciences (Neurobiology section), and is a member of the Neuroscience Program. He has laboratories and offices in both the Hedco Neurosciences Building (Dornsife College) and the Denney Research Building (VSoE). Likewise, the other members of the CNE have appointments in multiple departments within the VSoE, the Dornsife College, and the Keck School of Medicine. Many collaborations extend beyond USC to other universities both within and outside the United States.