Warren M. Grill

Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished 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

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

Contact Information


  • B.S. Boston University, 1989
  • M.S. Case Western Reserve University, 1992
  • Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University, 1995

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

  • Fellow (NAI). National Academy of Inventors. 2022
  • 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 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)
  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 504: Fundamentals of Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System (EL, GE)
  • BME 515: Neural Prosthetic Systems (GE, EL, IM)
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 804: Developments in Neural Engineering
  • NEUROBIO 393: Research Independent Study
  • NEUROBIO 793: Research in Neurobiology
  • NEUROSCI 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)
  • NEUROSCI 493: Research Independent Study 1
  • NEUROSCI 504: Fundamentals of Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System (EL, GE)
  • NEUROSCI 515: Neural Prosthetic Systems (GE, EL, IM)

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Peña, Edgar, Nicole A. Pelot, and Warren M. Grill. “Spatiotemporal parameters for energy efficient kilohertz-frequency nerve block with low onset response.” J Neuroeng Rehabil 20, no. 1 (June 5, 2023): 72. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-023-01195-8.
  • Kuo, Su-Wei, Tianhe Zhang, Rosana Esteller, and Warren M. Grill. “In Vivo Measurements Reveal that Both Low- and High-frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation Heterogeneously Modulate Superficial Dorsal Horn Neurons.” Neuroscience 520 (June 2023): 119–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2023.04.010.
  • Aberra, Aman S., Adrian Lopez, Warren M. Grill, and Angel V. Peterchev. “Rapid estimation of cortical neuron activation thresholds by transcranial magnetic stimulation using convolutional neural networks.” Neuroimage, May 23, 2023, 120184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2023.120184.
  • Thio, Brandon J., and Warren M. Grill. “Relative Contributions of Different Neural Sources to the EEG.” Neuroimage, May 2023, 120179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2023.120179.
  • Davis, Christopher J., Eric D. Musselman, Warren M. Grill, and Nicole A. Pelot. “Fibers in smaller fascicles have lower activation thresholds with cuff electrodes due to thinner perineurium and smaller cross-sectional area.” Journal of Neural Engineering 20, no. 2 (April 2023). https://doi.org/10.1088/1741-2552/acc42b.