Dr. Nelson is a Senior Fellow with the MnDRIVE Brain Conditions Team where he focuses on increasing and strengthening MnDRIVE relationships with business and industry. Dwight has broad experience in both corporate and academic research. With a PhD in neuroscience, he has worked as a scientist and leader in both the pharma and medical device industries, and has been a tenured university faculty with funding from NIH, NSF, and business and industry collaborations. Dwight’s most extensive industry experience was with Medtronic Neuro R+D, where he was a Chief Scientist in Global Research for multiple global business units, driving clinical and preclinical programs, patent strategies and submissions, and establishing novel research and therapy directions. He founded and led multiple teams of MD and PhD scientists and research programs for deep brain stimulation, brain sensing, peripheral nerve and pelvic health therapies, as well as spinal neuromodulation. Retiring from Medtronic in 2018, he established a successful neuroresearch consulting firm to provide scientific leadership for numerous global device and diagnostics start-ups and academic teams.
Within MnDRIVE, Dr. Nelson is focused on industry and academic collaboration and synergies. He is facilitating effective clinical and preclinical research collaborations, creating a distinct deliverables-based research culture, and building a sustainable pipeline of Neuro research expertise, discoveries and commercialization at the University of Minnesota. These business synergy efforts include driving and significantly improving the scientific foundation of the Minnesota medical device ecosystem, better connecting UMN resources and opportunities to partners in start-ups and strategic industry leaders, and establishing more effective academic-industry collaboration. Ultimately these programs bring cutting-edge, data driven breakthroughs to future patients and the Minnesota biotechnology ecosystem.