Jacob T. Robinson, Ph.D


Jacob Robinson is an Associate Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Bioengineering at Rice University and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. His research group uses nanofabrication technology to create miniature devices to manipulate and monitor neural circuit activity.  He received a B.S. in Physics from UCLA in 2003 and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University in 2008. He then began a postdoctoral research position in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, where he created silicon nanowire devices to probe the electrical and chemical activity of living cells. In 2012, he joined the ECE and BioE departments at Rice.  Dr. Robinson is a performer on several DARPA neurotech and bioelectronics programs and currently leads one of the N3 teams creating non-surgical neural interfaces. Dr. Robinson is the recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the Materials Today Rising Star Award, and is a Senior Member of IEEE. He previously served as the co-chair of the IEEE Brain Initiative and a core member of the IEEE Brain Neuroethics working group. He is also CEO and Co-Founder of Motif Neurotech.

  • “Bioelectronic Zeitgebers?” Considering how biological rhythms should factor into the design and deployment of neural interfaces

    Implantable bioelectronic systems that stimulate the nervous system are an effective adjunct therapy for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, heart arrhythmia/failure, and chronic pain. Clinical studies are underway currently for inflammation, sleep apnea, and mixed urinary incontinence.

  • Perspectives on Hearing Technologies: Closing the Loop Between Sensory and Cognitive Systems

    Advances in audio technologies are opening new frontiers in human-human and human-machine communications both for normal users and those with communication disorders. Yet, intelligent processing of our auditory surrounds is a nontrivial feat that has to balance the state of the system (e.g., pathophysiology), with the observed sensory signal as well as our goals, expectations, and attentional state (what we hear, what we want to hear, what we expect to hear).

  • Photopharmacology: Using Light for A Precise Spatiotemporal Control of Drug Activity

    The administration of a photocontrolled ligand in combination with illumination that is patterned in space and time can provide a novel degree of control and regulation of receptor activity. This method would allow precisely focusing the action of the ligand controlling the location and the temporal extension of its effects. When applied in vivo, the use of photoregulation can reduce side effects by targeting receptors located in target tissues, establishing personalized drug schedules to patient needs.