University of Southern California

USC Neuroscience

Gerald E. Loeb

Professor of Biomedical Engineering,
Adj. Prof. Neurology, Pharmacy
Director of the Medical Device Development Facility

Research Topics

  1. Neural prosthetics
  2. Sensorimotor control
  3. Muscle mechanics
  4. Spinal cord
  5. Haptic robots

Research Overview

We are interested generally in using electrophysiological interfaces between the nervous system and electronic equipment in order to understand natural functions (e.g. hearing, vision and movement) and to repair their disorders (e.g. deafness, blindness and paralysis). Previously, I have worked on cochlear implants (now commercially successful) and a cortical visual prosthesis (now being pursued by other research groups). Our current research is focused on biomimetic robots and prosthetic limbs capable of tactile sensing, reflexive control of limb movements and exploratory procedures to characterize and identify objects. This involves development of interface technologies (sensors, stimulators, etc.) and biomimetic control systems based on physiologically realistic mathematical models of muscles, proprioceptors and spinal cord circuitry. Such modeling builds on our many years of experimental research studying those structures in animals. We are also in preclinical animal trials of a cardiac pacemaker for a fetus in utero, which can be implanted percutaneously and recharged wirelessly until birth. We collaborate with two start-up companies from our lab: SynTouch manufactures our BioTac tactile sensors and was recently named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum; MicroNuronix is a joint venture with Nurotron in China to develop a new version of our BION injectable neuromuscular stimulator.

Contact Information

Web Sites:
BME Faculty
Medical Device Development Facility
SynTouch LLC
Mailing Address:
University of Southern California
Denney Research Building B6, MC1111
1042 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Office Location:
Office Phone:
(213) 821-5311
Lab Location:
Lab Phone:
(213) 821-5311
(213) 821-3897


  • B.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1969
  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1972
  • Surgical resident, University of Arizona, 1972-73

Research Images

Selected Publications

View a complete PubMed search

View a complete Google Scholar search

Raphael G, Tsianos GA, Loeb GE. (2010) Spinal-like regulator facilitates control of a two degree-of-freedom wrist.  J. Neuroscience 30:9431-9444 -Link

Fishel, J.A. and Loeb, G.E. Bayesian exploration for intelligent identification of textures. Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 6:4(doi:10:338/fnbot.2012.00004). 2012. -Link

Kaliki, R.R., Davoodi, R. and Loeb, G.E. Evaluation of a noninvasive command scheme for upper-limb prostheses in a virtual reality reach and grasp task. IEEE Trans. BME 60:792-802,2013. -Link

Tsianos, G.A., Rustin, C. and Loeb, G.E. Mammalian muscle model for predicting force and energetics during physiological behaviors. IEEE Trans. Neural Systems & Rehab. Engng. 2:117-133, 2012. -Link

Loeb, G.E., Optimal isn't good enough. Biological Cybernetics, DOI 10.1007/s00422-012-0514-6,  2012. -Link

Davoodi R, Urata C, Hauschild M, Khachani M, Loeb GE. (2007)  Model-based development of neural prostheses for movement. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 54(11):1909-1918. -PubMed

Loeb, G.E. Neuroprosthetic Interfaces - the Reality Behind Bionics and Cyborgs. Human Nature and Self-Design, eds. Schleidgen, Jungert, Bauer & Sandow, mentis Verlag GmbH, Paderborn, Germany, 2011. -Link

De Rugy, A., Loeb, G.E., and Carroll, T.J., Muscle coordination is habitual rather than optimal. J. Neuroscience 32:7384-7391, 2012. -Link

Hauschild M, Davoodi R, Loeb GE. (2007) A virtual reality environment for designing and fitting neural prosthetic limbs. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng.15(1):9-15. -PubMed

Mileusnic MP, Brown I.E, Lan N, Loeb GE Mathematical models of proprioceptors: I. Control and transduction in the mscle spindle. J. Neurophysiol. 96:1772-1788, 2006.
-PubMed -Link