Director of the T&C Chen Brain-Machine Interface Center
Richard Andersen, the James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience at Caltech, studies the neural mechanisms of sight, hearing, balance, touch, and action, and uses these insights to inform the development of neural prosthetics. Andersen obtained his PhD from UCSF and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He was a faculty member at both the Salk Institute and MIT before coming to Caltech.
Among Andersen's discoveries is the finding of neural signals of intention, and proving that these are not sensory in nature but rather reflect the planning of the subject. He has recently applied this discovery of intention to advance research on brain-machine interfaces. He and his group have shown that paralyzed patients' intents can be decoded from brain activity and used to control assistive devices such as robotic limbs.
Andersen is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is recipient of a McKnight Foundation Scholars Award, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and the Spencer Award from Columbia University, and is a visiting professor at the College de France. He has served as director of the McDonnell/Pew Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT and of the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at Caltech, as well as being a member or chair of various government advisory committees.