Dr. Schwartz’s research aims to understand how neurons in the brain’s motor cortex send signals to produce volitional movement. This effort has led to the implantation of a brain-computer interface in a monkey’s brain that allows it to maneuver a robot arm to grasp a marshmallow or turn a doorknob with its thoughts alone.
In collaboration with clinicians at Pitt and UPMC, he is a co-principal investigator on two new federally-funded projects that will put brain-computer interfaces into patients with spinal cord injury to see if they will be able to control assistive devices, such as a prosthetic arm.
Dr. Schwartz and his work have been featured on 60 Minutes, BBC News, “The Kamen Code,” and many science programs, as well as the New York Times, Scientific American and other publications. He received his doctoral degree in physiology from the University of Minnesota and did postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He joined Pitt in 2002.