Frank Willett, PhD
Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory, Stanford University
Frank Willett is a Research Scientist working in the Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory at Stanford University, and appointed through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His work is aimed broadly at improving brain-computer interfaces and understanding how the brain represents and controls movement. Recently, Frank has developed a brain-computer interface that decodes attempted handwriting movements from neural activity in motor cortex, enabling rapid brain-to-text communication in a person with paralysis. Frank has also worked on understanding how different body parts are represented in motor cortex at single neuron resolution. This work led to an unanticipated finding: what was previously thought to be “arm/hand” area of motor cortex actually contains an interlinked representation of the entire body.
Prior to working at Stanford University, Frank earned his PhD in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, also working as a part of BrainGate under the supervision of Dr. Bolu Ajiboye.