University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor and department chair Florian Solzbacher has been named a 2022 IEEE Fellow for his contributions in the development of tools enabling applied and translational neuroscience and neural engineering. 

IEEE Fellow is a distinction reserved for IEEE members with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. Each year, following a rigorous evaluation process, the IEEE Committee recommends a group of recipients amounting to less than 0.1% of the voting members. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and recognized as a prestigious honor by the technical community and high-level career achievement.

Solzbacher received a bachelor’s from Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, and a master’s from the Technical University of Berlin in electrical engineering. He earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from the Technical University Ilmenau in Germany. His primary research interest is in harsh environment microsystems and materials with focus on implantable systems and materials. This is driven by the recognition that advances in personalized and precision medicine are only possible, if one is able to monitor those biomarkers that determine the pathological pathways and then diagnose and treat accordingly. The cornerstone of his work is the development and translation of neural interface technologies supporting his main drive and vision to help restore motor and sensory function in people who have lost those due to disease or accidents or who suffer from neurological disorders that impact their wellbeing. He also has several active research thrusts in sensors for metabolic disorders, anesthesia and pain medication and other key areas of need. No patient should be left behind.

He joined the University of Utah in 2004 as an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering and was named associate professor in 2007 and professor in 2012. He was appointed chair of the department in 2017. He was executive director of the Utah Nanofabrication Laboratory from 2009 to 2014 and is director of the U’s Center for Engineering Innovation.

He is noted for turning the Utah Electrode Array into a generic and manufacturable tool used in more than 500 labs and clinics worldwide. It has become the leading tool for applied neuroscience, giving hope to countless patients with severe neurological diseases that impact motor, sensory or cognitive function and the first to be used in human applications. He is co-founder, president and chairman of Blackrock Microsystems 9recently renamed Blackrock Neurotech) in Salt Lake City, which develops commercialized applications for different versions of the Electrode Array as part of a vast array of electrodes, electronics, surgical and software tools to enable research and new clinical advances in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders. It is also the leading company offering Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) for use in human subjects.

Solzbacher is also a Fellow of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineers and has received the Outstanding Research Award and the Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award from the University of Utah.

The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000 plus members in 160 countries, the association is a leading authority in areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.