< BackResearch FacultyGianluca Lazzi, PhD, MBA

Gianluca Lazzi, PhD, MBA


Provost Professor of Ophthalmology and Electrical Engineering

Research Topics:

  • Biomedical electromagnetics
  • Application to wireless and biomedical devices
  • Electromagnetic distribution in neural tissue
  • Epiretinal implant devices
  • Microwave microantennas for implantable devices
  • Methods to optimize electrode shape and size for neurostimulators

Research Interests:

Gianluca Lazzi, PhD, MBA, focuses on the development of epiretinal implant devices, investigating the neural modeling of the degenerated retina stimulated by an epiretinal electrode array. His research will utilize all aspects of the ophthalmic engineering core including the USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics facility’s electronic and machine shop equipment for device development and analysis.


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.


  • Dr. Eng., Electronic Engineering, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome IT, 1994
  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 1998
  • MBA, IE Business School, Madrid ESP, 2015


  • Fellow, AIMBE, for “Contributions to Bioelectromagnetics and Design of Bioelectrical Implantable Devices”, 2015
  • R&D 100 Award and Editor’s Choice Award, R&D Magazine, 2009
  • ALCOA Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Achievement Award, NCSU, 2009
  • Fellow, IEEE, for “Contributions to Bioelectromagnetics and Implantable Devices, 2008
  • IEEE GLOBECOM Best Paper Award, 2008
  • IEEE H.A. Wheeler Award for the best paper published in IEEE Trans. on Antennas and Prop. in 2005, 2006
  • “Featured Achiever”, College of Engineering, NCSU, 2003
  • ALCOA Foundation Engineering Research Achievement Award, NCSU, 2003
  • Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award, NCSU, 2003
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, NCSU, 2003
  • NSF Career Award, 2001
  • The Whitaker Foundation Biomedical Engineering Grant (Young Investigator Award), 2001
  • URSI (International Union of Radio Science) “Young Investigator Award”, 1996
  • BEMS (Bioelectromagnetics Society) “Curtis Carl Johnson Memorial Award”- Best Paper, 1996


  1. E. Gamez, A. RamRakhyani, D. Schurig and G. Lazzi. Compact, Low-Frequency Metamaterial Design For Wireless Power Transfer Efficiency Enhancement. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, pp. 1644-1654, 2016
  2. K. Loizos, A. RamRakhyani, J. Anderson, R. Marc, and G. Lazzi. On the Computation of a Retina Resistivity Profile for Applications in Multi-Scale Modeling of Electrical Stimulation and Absorption. Physics in Medicine and Biology, June 2016
  3. Z. Kagan, A.K. RamRakhyani, G. Lazzi; R. A. Normann; D. J. Warren. In Vivo Magnetic Stimulation of Rat Sciatic Nerve With Centimeter- and Millimeter-Scale Solenoid Coils. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, pp. 1138-1147, 2016
  4. K. Loizos, C. Cela, R. Marc, and G. Lazzi. Virtual Electrode Design for Increasing Spatial Resolution in Retinal Prosthesis. Healthcare Technology Letters, IET, pp. 93-97, 2016
  5. Kumar, Z. Kagan, D. Warren, R. Normann and G. Lazzi. A μm-scale Computational Model of Magnetic Neural Stimulation in Multifascicular Peripheral Nerves. IEEE Transactions of Biomedical Engineering, vol.62, no.12, pp.2837-2849, Dec. 2015 (Featured Article)
  6. Kumar and G. Lazzi. Multi-Coil Approach to Reduce Electromagnetic Energy Absorption for Wireless Powered Implants. IET Healthcare Technology Letters, vol.1, no.1, pp.21-25, March 2014
  7. He, R. Baird, R. Butera, A. Datta, S. George, B. Hecht, A. Hero, G. Lazzi, R. C. Lee, J. Liang, M. Newman, G. C. Y. Peng, E. Perreault, M. Ramasubramanian, M. D. Wang, J. Wikswo, G.-Z. Yang, and Y.-T. Zhang. Grand Challenges in Interfacing Engineering With Life Sciences and Medicine. IEEE Transaction of Biomedical Engineering, pp. 589-598, 2013
  8. V. Singh, A. Roy, R. Castro, K. McClure, J. Weiland, M. Humayun, and G.Lazzi. On the Thermal Elevation of a 60-Electrode Epi-Retinal Prosthesis to Restore Partial Vision to the Blind. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, pp. 289-300, Dec. 2008
  9. G. Lazzi. Thermal Effects of Bioimplants (Invited Paper). IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, Special Issue on Biomimetic Implants, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp.75 – 81, Sept.-Oct. 2005.
  10. Gosalia K, Weiland J, Humayun M, Lazzi G. Thermal Elevation in the Human Eye and Head Due to the Operation of a Retinal Prosthesis. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2004 Aug; 51(8):1469-77
  11. Eberdt M, Brown PK, Lazzi G. Two-Dimensional SPICE-Linked Multiresolution Impedance Method for Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Interactions. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng Jul; 50(7):881-9, 2003
  12. Margalit E, Maia M, Weiland JD, Greenberg RJ, Fujii GY, Torres G, Piyathaisere DV, O'Hearn TM, Liu W, Lazzi G, Dagnelie G, Scribner DA, de Juan E Jr, Humayun MS. Retinal Prosthesis for the Blind. Surv Ophthalmol Jul-Aug; 47(4):335-56, 2002.
  13. OP Gandhi, G Kang, D Wu, G Lazzi. Currents Induced in Anatomic Models of the Human for Uniform and Nonuniform Power Frequency Magnetic Fields. Bioelectromagnetics. 2001 Feb; 22(2):112-21, 2001.
  14. OP Gandhi, G Lazzi, A Tinniswood, QS Yu. Comparison of Numerical and Experimental Methods for Determination of SAR and Radiation Patterns of Handheld Wireless Telephones. Bioelectromagnetics. Suppl 4:93-101, 1999.