Robert Rennaker, Executive Director
Rennaker is a neural engineer and an expert in the development of neural interfaces. At UT Dallas he is an associate professor of electrical engineering and neuroscience and head of the Department of Bioengineering.
Rennaker’s research focuses on developing wireless medical devices that can interface with the brain and body. Because these implantable neural interfaces function without wires attached to a power source outside the body, their use would result in less scarring and complications than devices currently used in patient care. His research is shedding light on how such interfaces can be used to modify brain function to treat a wide range of neurological conditions.
Rennaker served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years before becoming a professional engineer. His service included evacuating foreign dignitaries from Liberia during Operation Sharp Edge and supporting operations in Kuwait during Desert Shield/Storm and in Yugoslavia during Operation Provide Comfort. After his honorable discharge in 1993, he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering from Arizona State University with the help of the prestigious Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program for emerging leaders in biomedical engineering.
He completed postdoctoral research in the UT Dallas lab of Dr. Michael Kilgard, professor of neuroscience, before teaching mechanical and biomedical engineering for seven years at the University of Oklahoma. He returned to UT Dallas in 2009 as an associate professor in both the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.