Steven Chase


Steven Chase went from being an Electrical Engineering Masters student at UC Berkley to joining the PhD Biomedical Engineering program at John Hopkins. He has since been the recipient of the Wimmer Faculty Fellowship for teaching, the Dean’s Early Career Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. Read on to hear about a pivotal moment in his life.

People always ask Steve, “How did you get involved in neural prosthetics?” When he was at UC Berkeley he was designing tunable semiconductor lasers. One day for journal club he was assigned the task of comparing the light detecting ability of the eye to that of a silicon photo detector. While researching this question, he became fascinated by what the eye could do, and wanted to know why there weren’t any artificial eyes in clinical use. Of course, the main problem is that it’s hard to plug them in! Long after his assignment ended he was staying up nights reading about nerve electrical interfaces. At some point, it dawned on him that if this is what he was doing for fun, it’s probably what he should be doing for research. He approached his advisor about his decision, and the rest is history.

Steve Chase spoke about how he uses brain-computer interfaces to address questions around the limits of our learning, flexibility of our brain and what different things a group of neurons can do.