Human Open Research Neural Engineering Technologies (HORNET) initiative

The NIH Common Fund’s SPARC Program launched the Human Open-Research Neural Engineering Technologies (HORNET) initiative in 2022. The primary goal of the HORNET initiative is to advance the clinical translation of neuromodulation therapies in humans by supporting the development of an open-source ecosystem of neurotechnologies. The funded HORNET Centers are developing open-source neuromodulation technology modules that can be combined in multiple ways to construct complete, fully functional neuromodulation systems. The neuromodulation systems are designed to be used in human clinical research studies in the peripheral nervous system and may also be adapted for central nervous system applications. The Centers will publish open-source neuromodulation libraries that include engineering designs, regulatory documentation, technical specifications, manufacturing, and assembly processes, testing and validation reports, firmware designs, software code, etc.

HORNET Notice of Funding Opportunity:  RFA-RM-21-024

The funded HORNET Centers are:

Lead Institution: Case Western Reserve University
Lead PI: Kevin Kilgore, PhD
Award Number: U41 NS129436
Lead Institution: University of Southern California
Lead PI: Ellis Meng, PhD
Award Number: U41 NS129514

HORNET Steering Committee

NIH has appointed an external HORNET Steering Committee (HSC) to provide feedback to the NIH on the progress of the initiative and the Centers’ goals and milestones. The HSC members are as follows:

Photo of Dr. Odile Clavier
Odile Clavier, Ph.D.

Dr. Odile Clavier received her master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford University in the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  Since joining Creare, she has been the Principal Investigator for several biomedical applications. She has led the development of innovative hearing assessment systems, such as the Wireless Automated Hearing Test System for high quality boothless audiometry as well as the TabSINT software which was designed to enable distributed studies of hearing across multiple or remote sites. Dr Clavier has also led the development of the Tympan OpenSource Audio Processing platform and continues to innovate in the field of hearing research. As a Principal Engineer at Creare, she leads a business area focused on innovative technologies that can lower the cost of healthcare while increasing access to a variety of populations. Her team works on several devices at different stages of readiness, from cutting-edge high-risk research to market-ready transition.


Photo of Dr. Jack Judy
Jack Judy, Ph.D.

Dr. Judy received his B.S.E.E. degree with summa cum laude honors from the University of Minnesota in 1989, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1994 and 1996.  Dr. Jack Judy joined ECE as the Intel Nanotechnology Endowed Chair/NIMET Director. Dr. Judy was formerly a program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He was serving in this capacity while on leave from his faculty position in the ECE Department at UCLA. While at UCLA, he served as Director of the Neuro-Engineering Program, the Nanoelectronics Research Facility, and the Microfabrication Laboratory. Dr. Judy has received the prestigious National Science Foundation Career Award and the Okawa Foundation Award. Dr. Judy’s research interest includes the development of novel micro/nanoscale systems and their use in a wide variety of engineering and biomedical applications.



Photo of Dr. Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka Gupta, M.D.

Priyanka Gupta, MD is a Urologic Surgeon specializing in the diagnosis and management of voiding dysfunction and pelvic floor disorders. She obtained her medical degree from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and then completed her Urology Residency at the University of Minnesota. She then completed a fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Michigan. During her fellowship she gained additional expertise in the surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and the use of neuromodulation and robotic technology. Dr. Gupta’s clinical practice includes both the surgical and non-operative management of pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain, voiding dysfunction, and pelvic floor disorders. Dr. Gupta’s research interests include outcomes of pelvic organ prolapse treatments and neuromodulation, and surgical education in the developing world.



Photo of Dr. Heather Orser
Heather Orser, Ph.D.

Dr. Heather Orser is an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of St Thomas. She completed her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota with a focus on high-speed structures and A/D converters. Prior to serving as faculty at the University of St Thomas she worked in the development of implantable neuromodulation systems at both Inspire Medical and Medtronic where she led the development of several next-generation systems and successfully assessed the safety of implantable devices for patients undergoing MRIs. At the University of St Thomas, she teaches Circuit Analysis, Introduction to Biomedical Design, Introduction to Engineering, and Senior Design. Her research focuses on the development of neuromodulation systems for use in research and the clinic.




Photo of Dr. Cristin Welle
Cristin Welle, Ph.D.

Dr. Cristin Welle is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chair for Research in Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She runs the BIOElectrics Lab, which investigates circuit-level structure and function in the context of translational neurotechnology. The lab explores how neurotechnology drives neuroplasticity in the healthy and injured nervous system by using in vivo imaging, electrophysiology and optogenetics in animal models. Before moving to the University of Colorado, Dr. Welle led a research group at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, with a focus on safety and performance of novel Brain Computer Interface technology. While at the FDA, Dr. Welle also led public workshops to engage the scientific and regulatory neural interface communities and participated in regulatory reviews of over 100 neurological submissions.