Eric Leuthardt, MD, is quite the Renaissance Man. An accomplished neurosurgeon, inventor, playwright, book author, clothing designer and father of two, Eric has built a career with and around brains in a way no one would have imagined early in his life. Teachers thought he was a slow learner, but it turns out they just weren’t yet capturing his imagination. When, as a teen, he got an opportunity to work in the lab of neuroscientist Keith Crutcher (his mom wanted him to do something), the spark was lit.
Today Eric is an accomplished neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery and biomedical and mechanical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also leads the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology and the Brain Laser Center. He is also the inventor of a myriad of healthcare products and has over 1700 issues and pending patents, including some for a variety of brain-computer interface technologies that enable people to control computers with their thoughts alone. He has started six companies from the technologies he has invented. Among his inventions are the underlying technology that drives Pear Therapeutics, Neurolutions’ robotic exoskeleton that helps stroke victims recover hand movement by helping the brain rewire itself, and Equility’s neurostimulation product that can treat depression and other mental health conditions through ear buds.
But, as they say on the infomercials, that’s not all! Eric has written two non-fiction techno- thrillers that capture the excitement and anxiety of the future of mind-machine interface (available on Amazon). He has also written and acted in a play called Brain Works: Your Mind On Life, which is about how the brain operates in day to day situations (falling in love, having children, fear of dying, etc). The play won an Emmy and Eric is now collaborating with PBS on his next story. And to top it all off, Eric even has a clothing line that features neuroscience-related designs. Eric is also the single parent to two young children. Lisa met Eric when they were both Fellows in the Aspen Institute Health Innovation inaugural class, and she has been fortunate to get to know him better over the years. Since Eric is quite confident that the near future will bring minimally invasive neuro implants to make people smarter, she is hanging around him to be sure she is first in line.
Thanks to Eric for joining us on Tech Tonics today!
We are grateful to GE Ventures for sponsorship of today’s episode. GE Ventures: Multiple Paths to Big Impact.
Link to Eric Leuthardt’s Video Blog
Link to Eric Leuthardt’s Personal Blog on Psychology Today
Link to full Play of Brain Works by Eric Leuthardt