Meet the head neurosurgeon for Elon Musk's Neuralink, Dr. Matthew MacDougall

Written by Laura Dyrda | July 17, 2019 | Print  |

Tesla founder Elon Musk hired Matthew MacDougall, MD, a practicing neurosurgeon, to participate in a new project to develop a brain-computer interface technology and advance treatment for brain disorders, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Neuralink is working on FDA clearance for its platform, which is designed to help treat patients with spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions. The company has around 100 employees and is currently recruiting.

Mr. Musk unveiled the startup on July 17 in a presentation that included Dr. MacDougall as head neurosurgeon for the company. Dr. MacDougall joined the company in December 2017 and maintains his practice as a San Francisco-based neurosurgeon at Sutter Health. He also has experience as a clinical instructor at Stanford Health Care.

Dr. MacDougall earned his medical degree at the University of Southern California and completed his residency at the University of California, San Diego. He also underwent a fellowship at Stanford University.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. MacDougall has conducted research in optical brain interfaces. During the presentation, Dr. MacDougall said Neuralink implants "could be as seamless as Lasik in the future," according to TeslaRati.

So far, surgeons have performed 19 procedures with Neuralink technology on animals and successfully placed its threads 87 percent of the time. The company hopes to begin implanting the device in humans next year, with the goal of allowing paralyzed people to control phones or computers with the implants.

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