Gerald E. Loeb, M.D.
Dr. Loeb was born in New Brunswick , NJ , received his B.A. (’69) and M.D. (’72) from Johns Hopkins University , and trained in surgery at the University of Arizona . He spent 15 years in the Laboratory of Neural Control at the National Institutes of Health and 12 years at Queen’s University where he was Professor of Physiology and Director of the Bio-Medical Engineering Unit. He served as Chief Scientist (consulting) for Advanced Bionics Corp. of Sylmar, California , from 1994-1999. Dr. Loeb joined USC in September, 1999. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles, a book on electromyography and holds 65 US patents.
Dr. Loeb works on neural prosthetics – interfaces between electronic devices and the nervous system that are used to replace sensory and motor functions and correct dysfunctions in people with neurological problems. He was one of the developers of the cochlear implant now used to restore functional hearing to the deaf. His research group developed BIONs – BIOnic Neurons that are small enough to be injected into paralyzed muscles where they receive power and send and receive data by radio links with an external controller. A specialized version called NuStim is being developed as a joint venture with General Stim, Inc. of Los Angeles and Hangzhou, China.
In addition to developing and testing technology, Dr. Loeb has been active in basic neurophysiological studies of the sensorimotor nervous system in order to understand normal biological control. Computer models based on experimental data from muscles, motoneurons and proprioceptors have been developed to test new theories of control that may permit the reanimation of paralyzed limbs via functional electrical stimulation (FES). Details of these projects and complete recent reports can be found at http://mddf.usc.edu.
Dr. Loeb is also an inventor of the BioTac ®, a biomimetic tactile sensing system commercialized by Syntouch Inc, for which he is Chief Executive Officer (www.SynTouchInc.com). SynTouch was designated a Technology Pioneer for 2014 by the World Economic Forum. Bio Tac technology is being deployed on prosthetic hands, dexterous robots and instruments to quantify the feel of consumer products.
Dr. Loeb’s team has built a cardiac micropacemaker that can be injected percutaneously into a fetus in utero and recharged inductively for the duration of the pregnancy. The device has been tested in pregnant sheep and is being prepared for first-in-human use.