Alexander Steele is currently a Ph.D. candidate and also a research assistant at the Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Jose L. Contreras-Vidal. He is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran with an inspiring story of fighting adversity. He has been selected as a DARPA Riser. DARPA Riser is a highly competitive honor for his research at the Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory, which is expected to energize DARPA’s innovation ecosystem. His research involves understanding the effect of spinal cord injury on neural signaling and how spinal cord stimulation can aid in the restoration of motor function.

Alexander’s research will develop the first spinal cord-computer interface (SCCI) for people with spinal cord injury (SCI), which will provide hope for veterans returning with SCI lesions. Alexander has been supported by the BRAIN Center, an NSF VRS supplement for veterans, and a prestigious UH-Houston Methodist Fellowship for Translational Medical Research. He is an engaging and eloquent speaker and has mentored junior students, REU students, and K-12. Alexander has such a bright future that he was offered (and accepted) a full-time job at Houston Methodist as he continues to pursue his doctoral research, expected to be completed by summer 2023.