Lab directors

  • Kendall H. Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
    • Director, Neural Engineering Laboratory
    • Dr. Lee is a functional neurosurgery consultant at Mayo Clinic, with joint appointments in the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is also a professor of neurosurgery and physiology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. Lee's clinical practice focuses on neuromodulation treatment of various neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases.

      Dr. Lee is responsible for the strategic leadership of the lab, oversight of all lab research, and mentoring junior faculty and students. He also performs all of the human neurosurgery procedures conducted as part of the lab's research studies.

  • Kevin E. Bennet
    • Co-Director, Neural Engineering Laboratory
    • Chair, Division of Engineering
    • Kevin Bennet has more than 30 years of experience in industry and technology development and has also founded several technology-based companies. He joined Mayo Clinic in 1990, coming from industry with degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, and holds the rank of assistant professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and an appointment in the Mayo Clinic Department of Neurosurgery Research.

      The Division of Engineering builds custom medical systems and devices to enhance patient care and advance research. The Division of Engineering has engineers and technologists in biomedical, electrical, software, mechanical and chemical engineering specialties as well as a prototype shop and a custom glass blowing facility.

Associate directors

  • Allan J. Bieber, Ph.D.
    • Associate Director of Education
    • Dr. Bieber is an experienced research scientist with a background in cellular and developmental biology. He is the former director of the Mayo Graduate School Neurobiology of Disease doctoral track. Dr. Bieber's research interest is in the biological basis of the therapeutic effects of deep brain stimulation. He has worked at Mayo Clinic since 1997.

      Dr. Bieber recruits, mentors and trains students to work in the Neural Engineering Laboratory through established Mayo Clinic education programs or as visiting students or fellows from other institutions.

  • Charles D. Blaha, Ph.D.
    • Associate Director of Research
    • Dr. Blaha is a long-time collaborator of the Neural Engineering Laboratory, a role that started in his former position as a faculty member and distinguished full professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis. Dr. Blaha joined Mayo Clinic full time in 2015.

      Dr. Blaha is responsible for oversight of animal research, experimental design, data analysis and reviewing work authored by junior lab members.

  • Penelope S. Duffy, Ph.D.
    • Associate Director of Scientific Publishing
    • Dr. Duffy has a doctorate in communication disorders with an emphasis on adult neurologic language impairments. She was principal investigator of a grant on cognitive and communication impairments associated with right hemisphere damage and is the author of a graduate textbook on that topic and of two books in the trade press.

      After a 27-year research and clinical career, Dr. Duffy turned to writing full time and was a science writer for the departments of Public Affairs, Neurology and Neurologic Surgery at Mayo Clinic from 2005 to 2011. In 2011, she joined the Neural Engineering Laboratory to edit, write and review research papers and grants.

  • April E. Horne
    • Associate Director of Operations and Business Development
    • April Horne has held numerous other roles since joining Mayo Clinic in 2002, including program manager for the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, section manager for the Mayo Clinic Division of Engineering and director of the project management office for the Mayo Clinic Collaborative Services team. Prior to joining Mayo Clinic, she worked in technology development and leadership at IBM.

      April is responsible for developing and overseeing lab operations, project and portfolio management, personnel, collaborations, and entrepreneurial development. She oversees the administration and operations team.

  • Kip A. Ludwig, Ph.D.
    • Associate Director of Technology
    • Prior to joining Mayo Clinic, Dr. Ludwig was the program director for neural engineering at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He served as the co-lead for the Translational Devices Program at NINDS and led the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) project team at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which was responsible for developing and executing programs to catalyze implantable academic and clinical devices to stimulate and record the central nervous system. He also led a trans-NIH planning team in developing and initiating the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program to stimulate advances in neuromodulation therapies for organ systems.

      Before his tenure at NINDS, Dr. Ludwig worked in industry as a research scientist, where his team conceived, developed and demonstrated the chronic efficacy of a next-generation neural stimulation electrode to treat blood pressure and heart failure in both preclinical studies and clinical trials. Dr. Ludwig earned his Master of Science and doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan.