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Impact Award, Spring 2024

William Noll

William Noll’s interest in applying technology to treat neurological disorders inspired him to study biomedical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

“I first learned of neural engineering during an introductory biomedical engineering course in high school,” Noll says. “A guest lecturer showcased a robotic hand controlled by a human brain through an implanted brain-computer interface. I couldn’t believe it was possible for a paralyzed person to control an inanimate object with their brain!”

As an undergraduate researcher, Noll learned that engineering tools can be leveraged to help humans understand the complexities of the brain and motor control systems. 

Hyunglae Lee, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Marco Santello, a professor of neural engineering, guided Noll through his research. This guidance led Noll to publish a peer-reviewed journal publication with Lee and write a manuscript with Santello, which is currently under review. 

“Dr. Marco Santello is undoubtedly one of the wisest people I have ever met,” Noll says.

As an involved leader in his community, Noll served as the BRAIN Center president for two semesters and was a team member in Engineering Projects in Community Service, or EPICS. His work on the Memory Glass team helping give Alzheimer’s patients the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones they couldn’t remember. 

“I started a college mentoring program where students from a low-income high school were paired with biomedical engineering undergraduates to smooth the transition from high school to college,” Noll says. 

He fostered participation in research internships by facilitating connections between high school students and engineering faculty members at ASU. 

“I am currently leading a series of outreach events where BRAIN Center members will showcase interactive neural engineering demonstrations to present at middle and high schools,” Noll says. 

In spring 2024, Noll was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to fund his graduate research. After graduation, he will begin his doctoral studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to study computational neuroscience and brain-computer interfaces.

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2024 class here.

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