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Warren M. Grill


Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Our research employs engineering approaches to understand and control neural function. We work on fundamental questions and applied development in electrical stimulation of the nervous system to restore function to individuals with neurological impairment or injury.

Current projects include:
• understanding the mechanisms of and developing advanced approaches to deep brain stimulation to treat movement disorders,
• developing novel approaches to peripheral nerve electrical stimulation for restoration of bladder function, 
• understanding the mechanisms of and developing advanced approaches to spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic pain,
• understanding and controlling the cellular effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation, and
• design of novel electrodes and waveforms for selective stimulation of the nervous system.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Bass Fellow
  • Professor in Neurobiology
  • Professor in Neurosurgery
  • Core Faculty in Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University, 1995
  • M.S. Case Western Reserve University, 1992
  • B.S. Boston University, 1989

Research Interests

Neural engineering and neural prostheses and include design and testing of electrodes and stimulation techniques, the electrical properties of tissues and cells, and computational neuroscience with applications in restoration of bladder function, treatment of movement disorders with deep brain stimulation, and treatment of chronic pain.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Capers & Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research. Pratt School of Engineering. 2018
  • Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award. NIH-NINDS . 2015
  • Scholar / Teacher of the Year Award. Duke University. 2014
  • Outstanding Postdoc Mentor. Duke University. 2013
  • Fellow. Biomedical Engineering Society. 2011
  • Fellow. American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. 2007

Courses Taught

  • BME 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)
  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 504: Fundamentals of Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System (EL, GE)
  • BME 515: Neural Prosthetic Systems (GE, EL, IM)
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • NEUROBIO 393: Research Independent Study
  • NEUROBIO 793: Research in Neurobiology
  • NEUROSCI 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)
  • NEUROSCI 504: Fundamentals of Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System (EL, GE)
  • NEUROSCI 515: Neural Prosthetic Systems (GE, EL, IM)

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Kumaravelu, K; Sombeck, J; Miller, LE; Bensmaia, SJ; Grill, WM, Stoney vs. Histed: Quantifying the spatial effects of intracortical microstimulation., Brain Stimulation, vol 15 no. 1 (2021), pp. 141-151 [10.1016/j.brs.2021.11.015] [abs].
  • Gonzalez, EJ; Odom, MR; Hannan, JL; Grill, WM, Dysfunctional voiding behavior and impaired muscle contractility in a rat model of detrusor underactivity., Neurourology and Urodynamics, vol 40 no. 8 (2021), pp. 1889-1899 [10.1002/nau.24777] [abs].
  • Musselman, ED; Cariello, JE; Grill, WM; Pelot, NA, ASCENT (Automated Simulations to Characterize Electrical Nerve Thresholds): A pipeline for sample-specific computational modeling of electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves., Plos Computational Biology, vol 17 no. 9 (2021) [10.1371/journal.pcbi.1009285] [abs].
  • Langdale, CL; Degoski, D; Milliken, PH; Grill, WM, Voiding behavior in awake unrestrained untethered spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar control rats., American Journal of Physiology. Renal Physiology, vol 321 no. 2 (2021), pp. F195-F206 [10.1152/ajprenal.00564.2020] [abs].
  • Settell, ML; Pelot, NA; Knudsen, BE; Dingle, AM; McConico, AL; Nicolai, EN; Trevathan, JK; Ezzell, JA; Ross, EK; Gustafson, KJ; Shoffstall, AJ; Williams, JC; Zeng, W; Poore, SO; Populin, LC; Suminski, AJ; Grill, WM; Ludwig, KA, Corrigendum: Functional vagotopy in the cervical vagus nerve of the domestic pig: implications for the study of vagus nerve stimulation (2020J. Neural Eng.17 026022)., Journal of Neural Engineering, vol 18 no. 4 (2021) [10.1088/1741-2552/ac01ff] [abs].

Selected Activities

  • Consultant, Neurological Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee,Center for Devices and Radiological Health,
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Neural Engineering,
  • Editorial Board, Brain Stimulation,