Bruce Wheeler

Title(s)Adjunct Professor, Bioengineering
SchoolVc-academic Affairs
Address9500 Gilman Drive #
La Jolla CA 92093
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    Cornell, Ithaca NYMS, PHD1981Electrical Engineering
    MIT, Cambridge MAS.B.,S.B.1971History/Science

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Brain-on-a-chip, micropatterning neurons and microelectrode arrays, neural signal processing. Bioengineering Education.

    Prof. Wheeler is particularly interested in the future of our young biomedical engineers. To this end he is heavily involved in UCSDs's new undergraduate Bioengineering Systems major, teaching and developing courses in instrumentation, signal processing and design. In his work with the UCSD Bioengineering: Systems UG major he emphasizes classical systems engineering but is cognizant that this education needs to take place in a context of genomics/informatics and the wearable/sensor/physiologic revolutions, both of which are changing the practice of medicine.

    Capsule Bio:
    Before moving to UCSD he has championed within the IEEE Engineering and Medical Bioengineering Society the growing emphasis on Biomedical and Health Informatics, a field which offers rapidly expanding job opportunities for biomedical engineers due to its huge practical impacts on health care effectiveness and cost, in addition to exploiting the genomics revolution. He is bringing into his classes an awareness of the tremendous impact that the wearable/sensor/wireless device explosion is having on biomedical engineering practice.

    For new students, Prof. Wheeler strongly recommends his MOOC "So you want to be a biomedical engineer" which is available for free at This course was created by the IEEE EMBS with substantial help from D2 Creative (Somerset NJ). [Prof. Wheeler is particularly indebted to Laura Vitez who helped craft a more meaningful message to young bioengineers.] This course is available for free.

    Before joining UC San Diego, Dr. Wheeler was a professor and Acting Department Chair at the University of Florida, co-authoring Florida's new BME BS degree program proposal. Previously he had been on faculty at the University of Illinois where he was the Founding Head of the Bioengineering Department, authored the proposals and shepherded to completion the programs for the BS, MS and PhD. He also served as ECE Associate Head for Undergraduate Education and Chair of the Neuroscience Program. He earned his Ph.D. and Master's from Cornell and his Bachelor's from MIT. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, IEEE, BMES, AIMBE and IAMBE. He was President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in 2012-2013 and Editor of its flagship journal the IEEE Transactions on Bomedical Engineering. He adds that IEEE TBME is the world's most influential general BME journal and that IEEE EMBS is the world's oldest, largest, and most global biomedical engineering. Also, EMBS is most closely aligned with the engineering, clinical and industrial expansion into health care.

    Prof. Wheeler came through the research ranks with his interest in the application of electrical engineering methodologies to neuroscience. His work and laboratory influenced the development of neural spike sorting technologies, demonstrated that micro electrode array technology was useful for brain slice recording, and developed multiple micro lithographic techniques for controlling cell growth in culture, especially of neurons. This work aims at basic science understanding of the behavior of small populations of neurons, in hopes of creating better insight into the functioning of the brain. More recent work, in collaboration with GJ Brewer of UC Irvine and T DeMarse of the University of North Carolina has involved very novel reconstructions in vitro of the hippocampus from which we are gaining new insights into how this structure, critical to memory, encodes information.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Engineering Form and Function in Neuronal Networks
    NIH R01NS052233May 3, 2006 - Jan 31, 2018
    Role: Principal Investigator
    NIH R21DC004840Jul 1, 2000 - Jun 30, 2003
    Role: Principal Investigator
    NIH R21NS038617Aug 24, 1999 - Jul 31, 2002
    Role: Principal Investigator
    NIH R55RR013320Sep 30, 1998 - Sep 29, 2001
    Role: Principal Investigator
    NIH R03RR006870Apr 1, 1991 - Mar 31, 1993
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Pattern separation and completion of distinct axonal inputs transmitted via micro-tunnels between co-cultured hippocampal dentate, CA3, CA1 and entorhinal cortex networks. J Neural Eng. 2018 08; 15(4):046009. Poli D, Wheeler BC, DeMarse TB, Brewer GJ. PMID: 29623900.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    2. Specific CA3 neurons decode neural information of dentate granule cells evoked by paired-pulse stimulation in co-cultured networks. Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2017 Jul; 2017:3628-3631. Poli D, DeMarse TB, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 29060684.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    3. Narrow microtunnel technology for the isolation and precise identification of axonal communication among distinct hippocampal subregion networks. PLoS One. 2017; 12(5):e0176868. Narula U, Ruiz A, McQuaide M, DeMarse TB, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 28493886.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    4. Sparse and Specific Coding during Information Transmission between Co-cultured Dentate Gyrus and CA3 Hippocampal Networks. Front Neural Circuits. 2017; 11:13. Poli D, Thiagarajan S, DeMarse TB, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 28321182.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    5. Repeating Spatial-Temporal Motifs of CA3 Activity Dependent on Engineered Inputs from Dentate Gyrus Neurons in Live Hippocampal Networks. Front Neural Circuits. 2016; 10:45. Bhattacharya A, Desai H, DeMarse TB, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 27445701.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    6. Feed-Forward Propagation of Temporal and Rate Information between Cortical Populations during Coherent Activation in Engineered In Vitro Networks. Front Neural Circuits. 2016; 10:32. DeMarse TB, Pan L, Alagapan S, Brewer GJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 27147977.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    7. Structure, Function, and Propagation of Information across Living Two, Four, and Eight Node Degree Topologies. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2016; 4:15. Alagapan S, Franca E, Pan L, Leondopulos S, Wheeler BC, DeMarse TB. PMID: 26973833.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    8. Scale of Carbon Nanomaterials Affects Neural Outgrowth and Adhesion. IEEE Trans Nanobioscience. 2016 Jan; 15(1):11-8. Franca E, Jao PF, Fang SP, Alagapan S, Pan L, Yoon JH, Yoon YK, Wheeler BC. PMID: 26829799.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    9. An in vitro method to manipulate the direction and functional strength between neural populations. Front Neural Circuits. 2015; 9:32. Pan L, Alagapan S, Franca E, Leondopulos SS, DeMarse TB, Brewer GJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 26236198.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 20     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    10. Current and Future Challenges in Point-of-Care Technologies: A Paradigm-Shift in Affordable Global Healthcare With Personalized and Preventive Medicine. IEEE J Transl Eng Health Med. 2015; 3:2800110. Dhawan AP, Heetderks WJ, Pavel M, Acharya S, Akay M, Mairal A, Wheeler B, Dacso CC, Sunder T, Lovell N, Gerber M, Shah M, Senthilvel SG, Wang MD, Bhargava B. PMID: 27170902.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    11. Large extracellular spikes recordable from axons in microtunnels. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2014 May; 22(3):453-9. Pan L, Alagapan S, Franca E, DeMarse T, Brewer GJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 24240004.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    12. Toward a self-wired active reconstruction of the hippocampal trisynaptic loop: DG-CA3. Front Neural Circuits. 2013; 7:165. Brewer GJ, Boehler MD, Leondopulos S, Pan L, Alagapan S, DeMarse TB, Wheeler BC. PMID: 24155693.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    13. Chronic stimulation of cultured neuronal networks boosts low-frequency oscillatory activity at theta and gamma with spikes phase-locked to gamma frequencies. J Neural Eng. 2012 Apr; 9(2):026015. Leondopulos SS, Boehler MD, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 22361724.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 8     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    14. Editorial: introducing TBME Letters special section on multiscale biomedical signal and image modeling and analysis. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2012 Jan; 59(1):3. Dhawan AP, Wheeler BC. PMID: 22186182.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    15. Hippocampal networks on reliable patterned substrates. J Neurosci Methods. 2012 Jan 30; 203(2):344-53. Boehler MD, Leondopulos SS, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 21985763.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 12     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    16. Propagation of action potential activity in a predefined microtunnel neural network. J Neural Eng. 2011 Aug; 8(4):046031. Pan L, Alagapan S, Franca E, Brewer GJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 21750372.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 21     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    17. Special section on Grand Challenges in Neuroengineering. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2011 Jul; 58(7):1883. Wheeler B, Thakor N, He B. PMID: 21693386.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    18. In vitro microelectrode array technology and neural recordings. Crit Rev Biomed Eng. 2011; 39(1):45-61. Nam Y, Wheeler BC. PMID: 21488814.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 36     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    19. Designing Neural Networks in Culture: Experiments are described for controlled growth, of nerve cells taken from rats, in predesigned geometrical patterns on laboratory culture dishes. Proc IEEE Inst Electr Electron Eng. 2010 Mar 01; 98(3):398-406. Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 21625406.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    20. Introducing TBME letters and regular papers special issue on therapeutic ultrasound. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2010 Jan; 57(1):3. Dhawan AP, Wheeler BC. PMID: 20064752.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    21. Chronic electrical stimulation of cultured hippocampal networks increases spontaneous spike rates. J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Oct 30; 184(1):104-9. Brewer GJ, Boehler MD, Ide AN, Wheeler BC. PMID: 19666055.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 12     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    22. Three-dimensional micro-electrode array for recording dissociated neuronal cultures. Lab Chip. 2009 Jul 21; 9(14):2036-42. Musick K, Khatami D, Wheeler BC. PMID: 19568672.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 21     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    23. A retrofitted neural recording system with a novel stimulation IC to monitor early neural responses from a stimulating electrode. J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Mar 30; 178(1):99-102. Nam Y, Brown EA, Ross JD, Blum RA, Wheeler BC, DeWeerth SP. PMID: 19100770.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    24. Novel MEA platform with PDMS microtunnels enables the detection of action potential propagation from isolated axons in culture. Lab Chip. 2009 Feb 07; 9(3):404-10. Dworak BJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 19156289.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 39     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    25. NbActiv4 medium improvement to Neurobasal/B27 increases neuron synapse densities and network spike rates on multielectrode arrays. J Neurosci Methods. 2008 May 30; 170(2):181-7. Brewer GJ, Boehler MD, Jones TT, Wheeler BC. PMID: 18308400.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 25     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    26. Building a brain on a chip. Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2008; 2008:1604-6. Wheeler BC. PMID: 19162982.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    27. Added astroglia promote greater synapse density and higher activity in neuronal networks. Neuron Glia Biol. 2007 May; 3(2):127-40. Boehler MD, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 18345351.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 25     Fields:    
    28. Survival and stimulation of neurite outgrowth in a serum-free culture of spiral ganglion neurons from adult mice. Hear Res. 2007 Aug; 230(1-2):17-23. Vieira M, Christensen BL, Wheeler BC, Feng AS, Kollmar R. PMID: 17521837.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    29. Active 3-D microscaffold system with fluid perfusion for culturing in vitro neuronal networks. Lab Chip. 2007 Apr; 7(4):475-82. Rowe L, Almasri M, Lee K, Fogleman N, Brewer GJ, Nam Y, Wheeler BC, Vukasinovic J, Glezer A, Frazier AB. PMID: 17389964.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 20     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    30. Development of astroglial cells in patterned neuronal cultures. J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2007; 18(8):1091-100. Nam Y, Brewer GJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 17706000.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    31. Application of a PDMS microstencil as a replaceable insulator toward a single-use planar microelectrode array. Biomed Microdevices. 2006 Dec; 8(4):375-81. Nam Y, Musick K, Wheeler BC. PMID: 16799748.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    32. Neuronal network structuring induces greater neuronal activity through enhanced astroglial development. J Neural Eng. 2006 Sep; 3(3):217-26. Chang JC, Brewer GJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 16921205.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 10     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    33. Epoxy-silane linking of biomolecules is simple and effective for patterning neuronal cultures. Biosens Bioelectron. 2006 Dec 15; 22(5):589-97. Nam Y, Branch DW, Wheeler BC. PMID: 16531038.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 15     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    34. Neural recording and stimulation of dissociated hippocampal cultures using microfabricated three-dimensional tip electrode array. J Neurosci Methods. 2006 Sep 15; 155(2):296-9. Nam Y, Wheeler BC, Heuschkel MO. PMID: 16494949.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 11     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    35. The effect of heart rate, preload, and afterload on the viscoelastic properties of the swine myocardium. Ann Biomed Eng. 2004 Sep; 32(9):1211-22. Ewert D, Wheeler B, Doetkott C, Ionan C, Pantalos G, Koenig SC. PMID: 15493509.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Animals
    36. Patterning to influence in vitro neuronal interfaces. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2004; 2004:5337-9. Wheeler BC, Nam Y, Brewer GJ. PMID: 17271547.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    
    37. Multichannel recording and stimulation of neuronal cultures grown on microstamped poly-D-lysine. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2004; 2004:4049-52. Nam Y, Wheeler BC. PMID: 17271188.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    
    38. Effect of bicuculline on the spontaneous and evoked activity of patterned embryonic hippocampal neurons cultured in vitro. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2004; 2004:4059-62. Khatami D, Nam Y, Brewer G, Wheeler B. PMID: 17271191.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    
    39. Gold-coated microelectrode array with thiol linked self-assembled monolayers for engineering neuronal cultures. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2004 Jan; 51(1):158-65. Nam Y, Chang JC, Wheeler BC, Brewer GJ. PMID: 14723505.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 12     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    40. Performance of time- and frequency-domain binaural beamformers based on recorded signals from real rooms. J Acoust Soc Am. 2004 Jan; 115(1):379-91. Lockwood ME, Jones DL, Bilger RC, Lansing CR, O'Brien WD, Wheeler BC, Feng AS. PMID: 14759029.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    41. Blind estimation of reverberation time. J Acoust Soc Am. 2003 Nov; 114(5):2877-92. Ratnam R, Jones DL, Wheeler BC, O'Brien WD, Lansing CR, Feng AS. PMID: 14650022.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    42. A modified microstamping technique enhances polylysine transfer and neuronal cell patterning. Biomaterials. 2003 Aug; 24(17):2863-70. Chang JC, Brewer GJ, Wheeler BC. PMID: 12742724.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 29     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    43. Microcontact printing: a versatile technique for the study of synaptogenic molecules. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2002 May; 20(1):140-53. Cornish T, Branch DW, Wheeler BC, Campanelli JT. PMID: 12056845.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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