Grill Shortlisted for IET A F Harvey Engineering Award

June 8, 2020

The £350,000 prize would help advance research on using electrical stimulation to relieve chronic pain

Man smiling with a microscope in the foreground

Warren Grill

Warren Grill, the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, is one of five researchers shortlisted for the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) prestigious £350,000 A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize.

The prize is awarded annually in recognition of an outstanding achievement in engineering research in the fields of medical, microwave and radar or laser/optoelectronic engineering, with the prize fund awarded to support further research led by the recipient. This year’s theme is medical engineering and technology.

“I am excited and honored by the recognition from the IET’s Search and Selection Panel of the impact of our engineering research achievements,” said Grill. “And I am grateful for the myriad contributions of students, staff and collaborators to our accomplishments.”

For more than two decades, Grill’s work has focused on using various types of electrical stimulation to restore organ function, treat movement disorders and relieve pain. For example, he has investigated the effect different patterns have on the efficacy of deep brain stimulation for treating motor symptoms stemming from Parkinson’s disease. He also recently developed a method for using light-based deep brain stimulation to try to tease out exactly how the therapy works.

In other work, Grill has recently shown that stimulating the vagus nerve stimulation can reduce inflammation and restore cognitive function after injury or surgery in older adults. He has also shown that certain types of nerve stimulation can restore bladder function.

“The A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize recognizes the outstanding research achievements of the recipient, from anywhere in the world, who is identified through a search and selection process conducted by a panel of international experts from around the globe,” said Sir John O’Reilly, chair of the IET’s Search and Selection Panel for the Prize.

“We are incredibly proud, through the generous legacy from the late Dr A F Harvey to be able to recognize and support the furtherance of pioneering engineering research in these fields and thereby their subsequent impact in advancing the world around us. I’d like to congratulate our five finalists.”

The IET’s A F Harvey prize is named after Dr A F Harvey who bequeathed a generous sum of money to the IET for a trust fund to be set up in his name to further research in the specified fields.

The prize winner will be chosen from a shortlist of five candidates and announced in December 2020. The winning researcher will deliver a keynote lecture on their research at IET London: Savoy Place in spring 2021.