Robert Rennaker

Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Bioengineering
Professor - Behavioral and Brain Sciences
UTD Webpage
Tags: Cognition and Neuroscience

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Bioengineering
Arizona State University - 2002
M.S. - Bioengineering
Arizona State University - 2001
B.S.E. - Bioengineering
Arizona State University - 1997

Research Areas

Research Interests

Dr. Rennaker's research focuses on the development of technoloies to prevenet, detect and treat neurological injury and disease.  


Vagus nerve stimulation during rehabilitative training improves forelimb recovery after chronic ischemic stroke in rats N Khodaparast, MP Kilgard, R Casavant, A Ruiz, I Qureshi, PD Ganzer, ... Neurorehabilitation and neural repair, 1545968315616494 2015 - Publication
Abstract T MP24: Vagus Nerve Stimulation Improves Motor Function After Chronic Stroke in Adult Rats N Khodaparast, R Casavant, A Ruiz, RL Rennaker, MP Kilgard Stroke 46 (Suppl 1), ATMP24-ATMP24 2015 - Publication
Controlled-cortical impact reduces volitional forelimb strength in rats   David Pruitt, Seth Hays, Ariel Schmid, Connie Choua, Lily Kim, Jenny Trieu, Michael P Kilgard, Robert L Rennaker   Brain Research Vol 1582 Pages 91-98 2014 - Publication
Vagus nerve stimulation during rehabilitative training improves functional recovery after intracerebral hemorrhage   Seth A Hays, Navid Khodaparast, Daniel R Hulsey, Andrea Ruiz, Andrew M Sloan, Robert L Rennaker, Michael P Kilgard   Vol (45) Issue 10 Pages 3097-3100 2014 - Publication
Seth A Hays, Ph.D.; Andrew M Sloan, Ph.D.; Daniel R Hulsey, B.S.; Andrea Ruiz, B.S.; Maritza Pantoja, B.S.; Rennaker RL; Michael P Kilgard, Ph.D; Vagus nerve stimulation during rehabilitative training improves forelimb strength following ischemic stroke, Neurobiology of Disease Manuscript  Vol (60) 80-88 2013 - Publication
Donzis EJ, Rennaker RL, Thompson LT, Fear conditioning alters neuron-specific hippocampal place field stability via the basolateral amygdale. Brain Research 2013 June 20 2013 - Publication
Dustin Simon, Taylor Ware, Ryan Marcotte, Benjamin R. Lund, Dennis W. Smith Jr., Matthew Di Prima, Rennaker RL, Walter Voit; A comparison of polymer substrates for photolithographic processing of flexible bioelectronics. Biomedical Microdevices 2013 July 14 2013 - Publication
Hays SA, Khodaparast N, Sloan AM, Hulsey DR, Pantoja M, Ruiz AD, Kilgard MP, Rennaker RL. The isometric pull task: a novel automated method for quantifying forelimb force generation in rats. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2013 Nov 23; 212(2):329-337. 2013 - Publication
Hays SA, Khodaparast N, Sloan AM, Fayyaz T, Hulsey DR, Ruiz AD, Pantoja M, Kilgard MP, Rennaker RL. The bradykinesia assessment task: an automated method to measure forelimb speed in rodents. J Neurosci Methods. 2013 Mar 30;214(1):52-61. 2013 - Publication
Ware T, Simon D, Rennaker RL, Voit WE. Smart polymers for neural interfaces. Polymer Reviews, 2013 Vol 53 (1): 108-129. 2013 - Publication


Associate Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2018–Present]
Department Chair
The University of Texas at Dallas [2013–Present]
Full Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2013–Present]
The University of Texas at Dallas [2012–Present]
Associate Professor
The University of Texas Dallas [2009–Present]
Associate Professor
The University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma [2009–2018]
Vulintus LLC, Saches Texas [2009–Present]
Vulintus LLC [2007–Present]
Post-Doctoral Researcher
The University of Texas at Dallas [2002–2002]
Assistant Professor
The University of Oklahoma [2002–2009]


The effect of MK801 on auditory cortex receptive fields in the awake rat
2018–2018 Sloan AM and Rennaker RL.; TuckerDavis Symposium on Advances and Perspectives in Auditory Neurophysiology; Atlanta, GA.
Fine-grain frequency discrimination thresholds in albino rats.
2008–2008 Dodd D., Rennaker RL; Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington DC
Development of a Distributed Neural Interface System
2006–2006 Robert RL, Hutchens C., Ibrahim T., Miller L., Cogan S.; NIH Neural Interface Conference, Cleveland Ohio
Temporal and bandwidth analyses of forward masking in the nonanesthetized rat
2018–2018 Bjorlie J, Sloan AM, and Rennaker RL.; Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting/Tucker-Davis Symposium on Advances and Perspectives in Auditory Neurophysiology; Atlanta, GA
Effect of minocycline administration on chronic neural interfaces in rats: recording quality and glial response
2018–2018 Sloan AM, Tang H, and Rennaker RL.; Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting; Atlanta, GA

Additional Information

  • Whitaker Ph.D. Fellowship, Arizona State University 1998
  • Tom J. Love Outstanding Professor, Unlverslty of Oklahoma, 2003
  • Alumni Teaching Award, University of Oklahoma, 2007
  • Presidential Professorship, The University of Oklahoma Presidential Associates 2009
Personal Statement

Dr. Rennaker graduated high school in 1988 and then served in the United States Marine Corps for 5 years. During that time, Dr. Rennaker participated in Operation Sharp Edge in Liberia, Desert Shield/Storm in Kuwait, and Provide Comfort in Yugoslavia. Following his honorable discharge, Dr. Rennaker received his BSE (1997), MS (1999) and Ph.D. (2002) in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University. Following graduation Dr. Rennaker spent seven years at the University of Oklahoma in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department as an Assistant (’02- ’09) and Associate (2009) professor. Dr. Rennaker is a Full professor with appointments in Elecrical Engineering, Neuroscience, and Bioengineering.   Dr. Rennaker is the director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center and Chair of the Bioengineering Department.  Dr. Rennaker and his wife Paula have 3 children.

News Articles

Neural Engineer Appointed to Lead Bioengineering Department
Dr. Robert L. Rennaker II, an expert in the development of neural interfaces, and is the Chair of the Department of Bioengineering,Created in 2010, The Department of Bioengineering grants graduate degrees in biomedical engineering in collaboration with UT Southwestern Medical Center and UT Arlington. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach, combining expertise in electrical, mechanical and materials engineering, coupled with the life sciences. The undergraduate program, based entirely at UT Dallas, is similar, giving students a foundation in engineering and mathematics, complemented with biology, physiology and medical instrumentation.



Vulintus Inc is a biomedical research company located in Dallas.  The company builds preclinical research equipment.

Chief Executive Officer

Optokinetix has developed a system to detect changes in brain function.  The system may be used for detection of concussions, impairment and monitor the efficacy of various therapies.


Consultant for Konan Medical USA


Center for Application of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
$960,000; C0-I (10%) - DOE [2018–2018]
Mechanisms of TPT
$2,400,000 - NIH [2016–2020]
Making Texas Leader in Bioelectronic Medicine
$2,000,000 - W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation [2016–2017]
4,100,000 - DARPA [2015–2017]
GSK Challenge
200,000 - GSK [2015–2015]