Over the past 25 years, Gianluca Lazzi, PhD, has focused his research on biomedical electromagnetics, with particular interest to the application to wireless and biomedical devices. In the early stages of his career, he focused on understanding the interaction between electromagnetic fields and biological tissue, with particular interest in the potential hazards to the human body due to devices radiating or inducing electromagnetic fields in tissue. Lazzi's research contributed to define the computational methods that could be reliably used to assess the Specific Absorption Rate of power, or SAR, induced by wireless devices in the human body: this work directly impacted the acceptance of computational methods to demonstrate that wireless devices previously fulfilled IEEE safety standards prior to being marketed.
The computational and experimental methods that Lazzi and his team developed progressively shifted to be used for medical device applications, and in particular an artificial retina to restore partial vision to the blind and hippocampal prosthesis. Lazzi has also been recognized for multiscale computational methods to calculate the electromagnetic distribution in neural tissue for optimization of neurostimulators, human body models for the safety assessment of wireless biomedical devices, implantable microantennas for high-data rate wireless biomedical devices, novel coils for wireless telemetry systems, methods for the minimization of the temperature increase in the human body due to implantable devices, and methods to optimize electrode shape and size for neurosimulators. For nearly 20 years, Lazzi and his team have been part of a team dedicated to the development a retinal prosthesis to restore partial vision to the blind, in collaboration with the company Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. He also been part of an NSF supported Engineering Research Center (ERC) on Biomimetic Devices led by the University of Southern California. Lazzi's contributions in the field of implantable devices have been recognized with the election as AIMBE Fellow for “contributions to bioelectromagnetics and design of bioelectrical implantable devices,” election as a IEEE Fellow for “contributions to Bioelectromagnetics and implantable devices,” the IEEE Wheeler Best paper Award for a manuscript on the invention of microwave microantennas for implantable devices, and a R&D100 Award in 2009 for one of the 100 most significant inventions of 2009 (artificial retina). His team recently presented research on neuroprosthetics and multiscale modeling at the IEEE Grand Challenges in Life Science Symposium at the National Academies: parts of this inspired a position paper on the future grand challenges in life science published in IEEE Trans. on Biomedical Engineering, jointly prepared by all the presenters.