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Warren M. Grill


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

  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Bass Fellow
  • Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • 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

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 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 504: Fundamentals of Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System (GE, EL)
  • BME 515: Neural Prosthetic Systems (GE, EL, IM)
  • BME 790L: Advanced Topics with the Lab for Graduate Students in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 792: Continuation of Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 804: Developments in Neural Engineering
  • ECE 899: Special Readings in Electrical Engineering
  • NEUROSCI 504: Fundamentals of Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System (GE, EL)
  • NEUROSCI 515: Neural Prosthetic Systems (GE, EL, IM)

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Schmidt, SL; Brocker, DT; Swan, BD; Turner, DA; Grill, WM, Evoked potentials reveal neural circuits engaged by human deep brain stimulation., Brain Stimulation, vol 13 no. 6 (2020), pp. 1706-1718 [10.1016/j.brs.2020.09.028] [abs].
  • Kumaravelu, K; Tomlinson, T; Callier, T; Sombeck, J; Bensmaia, SJ; Miller, LE; Grill, WM, A comprehensive model-based framework for optimal design of biomimetic patterns of electrical stimulation for prosthetic sensation., Journal of Neural Engineering, vol 17 no. 4 (2020) [10.1088/1741-2552/abacd8] [abs].
  • Peña, E; Pelot, NA; Grill, WM, Quantitative comparisons of block thresholds and onset responses for charge-balanced kilohertz frequency waveforms., Journal of Neural Engineering, vol 17 no. 4 (2020) [10.1088/1741-2552/abadb5] [abs].
  • Bourbeau, D; Creasey, G; French, J; Grill, WM; Howley, S; Krassioukov, A; Moritz, C; Santacruz, B; Thor, K; Wheeler, T, A roadmap for advancing neurostimulation approaches for bladder and bowel function after spinal cord injury., Spinal Cord (2020) [10.1038/s41393-020-00544-x] [abs].
  • Nicolai, EN; Settell, ML; Knudsen, BE; McConico, AL; Gosink, BA; Trevathan, JK; Baumgart, IW; Ross, EK; Pelot, NA; Grill, WM; Gustafson, KJ; Shoffstall, AJ; Williams, JC; Ludwig, KA, Sources of off-target effects of vagus nerve stimulation using the helical clinical lead in domestic pigs., Journal of Neural Engineering, vol 17 no. 4 (2020) [10.1088/1741-2552/ab9db8] [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,