Qi Wang


363 Engineering Terrace

Tel(212) 854-3657
Fax(212) 854-3054

Qi Wang develops new technologies for restoring and enhancing sensory functions and cognition through brain-machine interfaces (BMI). He has been working on cracking neural codes underlying our perception and cognition, and has been developing new strategies for selectively activating neural circuitry. 

Research Interests

Neural coding, brain-machine interfaces, sensory processing, multisensory integration, biomedical instrumentation.

Of particular interest to Wang is to understand how sensory information is processed in the brain to form perception and inform an optimal decision, and how this process is modulated by behavioral states, such as attention and arousal. He utilizes experimental and theoretic approaches to tackle these questions. More specifically, his group uses single-unit electrophysiology, optogenetics, and patterned microstimulation, in concert with behavioral tasks, to model interactions between different brain regions during sensory processing and engineer sensory percepts through patterned microstimulation in the nervous system. 

Wang received a BS in mechanical engineering from North China University of Electric Power in 1992 and a Master and PhD in Robotics from Harbin Institute of Technology in 1995 and 1998, respectively. He earned his second PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from McGill University in 2006, and received postdoc training in neuroscience at Harvard University from 2006 to 2008.  He received numerous awards, including the IEEE EMBS Early Career Achievement in 2014, the Sackler Convergence Award in 2015, the NARSAD Young Investigator award in 2014, and the Best Paper Award at 14th IEEE Haptics Symposium in 2006.


  • Research Scientist, Georgia Tech/Emory University, 2008-2012
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard University, 2006-2008


  • Associate professor of biomedical engineering, Columbia University, 2020–
  • Secretary, biomedical engineering, Columbia University, 2020–
  • Assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Columbia University, 2013–2020
  • Research Scientist of biomedical engineering, Georgia Tech/Emory University, 2008-2012


  • IEEE
  • Society of Neuroscience


  • NSF CAREER Award, NSF, 2019
  • Sackler Convergence Award. Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Convergence of Biomedical, Physical & Engineering Sciences, 2015.
  • Early Career Achievement Award, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBS), 2014
  • Best Poster Award, Kavli Futures Symposium: The Novel Neurotechnologies, 2014
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, 2014
  • Best Paper Award, 14th IEEE Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Tele-operator Systems (Haptic Symposium), 2006.
  • Eric L. Adler fellowship in Engineering, McGill University, 2004-2006
  • The Principal’s Student-Athlete Academic Honor Roll, McGill University, 2004-2006
  • Precarn Scholarship, Precarn Institute, Canada, 2003-2005
  • Outstanding Student Scholarship, Chinese Society for Electrical Engineering, 1990, 1992.


  • Charles Rodenkirch and Qi Wang. Rapid and transient enhancement of thalamic information transmission induced by vagus nerve stimulation. J. of Neural Engineering. In press.
  • Brian Schriver, Sean Perkins, Paul Saj da, and Qi Wang. Interplay between components of pupil linked phasic arousal and its role in driving behavioral choice in Go/No Go perceptual decision making. Psychophysiology. In press
  • Charles Rodenkirch, Yang Liu, Brian J Schriver, and Qi Wang. Locus coeruleus activation enhances thalamic feature selectivity via norepinephrine regulation of intrathalamic circuit dynamics. Nature Neuroscience, 22(1):120 133, 2019. Also featured in Nature Neuroscience News & Views.
  • Jacob Reimer, Matthew McGinley, Yang Liu, Charles Rodenkirch, Qi Wang, David A. McCormick, and Andreas S. Tolias, Pupil fluctuations track rapid changes in adrenergic and cholinergic activity in cortex. Nature Communications, 7:13289, 2016.
  • Douglas Ollerenshaw, He Zheng, Daniel Millard, Qi Wang, and Garrett Stanley, The Adaptive Trade-off between detection and discrimination in cortical representations and behavior. Neuron, 81(5): 1152–1164, 2014.
  • Qi Wang, Daniel Millard, He Zheng, and Garrett Stanley, Voltage Sensitive Dye Imaging Reveals Improved Topographic Activation of Cortex in Response to Manipulation of Thalamic Microstimulation Parameters, Journal of Neural Engineering, 9:026008, 2012.
  • Qi Wang, Roxanna Webber, and Garrett Stanley, Thalamic Synchrony and the Adaptive Gating of Information Flow to Cortex, Nature Neuroscience, 13(12): 1534 – 1541, 2010.
  • Talia Konkle, Qi Wang, Vincent Hayward and Christopher I. Moore, Motion aftereffects transfer between touch and vision, Current Biology, 19(9):745-750, 2009.