Research:
I've built underwater robots for the US EPA, assisted NASA in SCUBA search and recovery of rare aquatic organisms, created novel synthetic connections in the brain with DARPA, and invented non-invasive neural augmentation technology used by athletes in the NFL, NBA, US Olympic teams, and elite military units.

I'm a space and wilderness medicine instructor for the Project PoSSUM citizen scientist astronautics program, a volunteer firefighter lieutenant, a wilderness first responder (WFR), a Neuroscience PhD, an inventor with two patents per year on average, a serial entrepreneur with successful exit, and a mentor/speaker at Techstars, Weill Cornell Medicine, and NYU School of Engineering.

I cofounded Halo Neuroscience in 2012 to bring neural augmentation to the "real world", and cofounded Rocean in 2017 to use my technical expertise, and love for research, invention, and the environment to mitigate environmental threats facing the world. Rocean was acquired by Pentair in 2020, and together we're working to accelerate a more sustainable future with less single use plastic waste pollution.

My work has been noted in Time Magazine, Wired, The New York Times, BBC, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, and MoMA.

Twitter: @LeevonKraus


NY Maps:

Good Books:


Protein Engineering:
  • Protein Engineering and Design by Sheldon Park
  • Protein Engineering Protocols by Katja Arndt
  • Protein Engineering in Industrial Biotechnology by Lilia Alberghina
  • Molecular Evolution by Wen Hsiung Li
  • Structure and Mechanism in Protein Science  by Alan Fersht
  • Principles of Gene Manipulation by S.B. Primrose
  • Microbial Biotechnology by Alexander Glazer
  • Principles of Biochemistry by David Nelson
  • Biochemistry by Pamela Champe


Wilderness Survival:
  • Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski
  • Wilderness Survival by Gregory Davenport
  • Where There is No Doctor by David Werner
  • http://www.survivaltopics.com/    (survival topics)
  • http://www.primitiveways.com/    (primitive ways)


Urban Exploration:
  • Access All Areas by Ninjalicious
  • A Field Guide to Roadside Technology by Ed Sobey
  • Mole People by Jennifer Toth
  • http://www.uer.ca/    (urban exploration resource)


Mathematics:
  • Applied Calculus for Scientists and Engineers by Frank Blume
  • Mathematics Dictionary by E. J. Borowski
  • Matrix Analysis and Applied Linear Algebra by Carl Meyer
  • Differential Equation with Matlab by Brian Hunt
- mathematical biology:
  • Evolutionary Dynamics by Nowak
  • Mathematical Biology, an Introduction by Murray
  • An Introduction to Systems Biology by Alon
  • Practical Statistics for Field Biology


Machine Learning:
  • Machine Learning in Action by Peter Harrington
  • Introduction to Machine Learning by Ethem Alpaydin
  • Reinforcement Learning by Sutton and Barto
  • Data Mining by Ian Witten
  • Kernel Methods for Pattern Analysis by John Shawe-Taylor
  • http://academicearth.org/courses/machine-learning    (Andrew Ng video lectures)


Building:
- boats:
  • Boat Building and Boating by Daniel Beard
  • Handmade Houseboats by Russel Conder
  • Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding by George Buehler
  • Ultrasimple Boat Building by Gavin Atkin
  • http://www.pdracer.com/   (puddle duck racer)
- planes:
  • Progress in Flying Machines by Octave Chanut


Vehicle / Equipment Operation:
- boating:
  • The Annapolis Book of Seamanship by John Rousmanier
  • Start Sailing Right by American Red Cross
  • Nautical Almanac (for astral navigation)
- planes:
  • Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche
  • Hang Gliding Training Manual by Dennis Pagan
  • Understanding the Sky by Dennis Pagan
- SCUBA:
  • Adventures in Diving Manual
  • NOAA Diving Manual: Diving for Science and Technology
  • http://www.coastguardtraining.com/rem_diving/default.htm   (affordable commercial diving school)
- space:
  • Lunar Base Handbook by Eckart
  • Spaceflight Life Support and Bospherics by Peter Eckart
  • Terraforming, the Creating of Habitable Worlds by  Martin Beech


Robotics / Electronics:
  • Understanding Electricity and Electronics by Randy Slone
  • Mobile Robots, 2nd edition by Jones, Flynn, Seiger
  • Principles of Digital Design by Daniel Gajski
  • Robot Builder's Bonanza by Gordon Mccomb
  • PIC Microcontroller Project Book by John Iovine
  • Handmade Electronic Music by Nicolas Collins
  • Digital Electronics for Scientists by Malmstadt / Enke


Hacking:
  • Hacking, The Art of Exploitation by Jon Erickson
  • Hacking the XBox by Bunnie Huang
  • Hacker Disassembling Uncovered by Kris Kaspersky
  • The Little Black Book of Email Viruses by Mark Allen Ludwig
  • 2600 magazine subscription


Parapsychology:
  • Unbelievable by Stacy Horn
  • The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin
  • Entangled Minds by Dean Radin
  • Hauntings and Poltergeists edited by James Houran


Ecology / Physiology:
  • Botany in a Day by Thomas Elpel
  • Physiological Plant Ecology by W. Larcher
  • Biology of Plants by Raven, Evert, Eichhorn
  • Foundations of Parasitology by Geralrd Schmidt
  • Biology of Earthworms by Edwards and Lofty
  • The Other Insect Societies by James Costa
  • Destructive and Useful Insects by Metcalf


'Popular' Science:
  • Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer
  • The Private Life of Plants by David Attenborough
  • Life in the Undergrowth by David Attenborough
  • The Life of Birds by David Attenborough
  • Life in Cold Blood by David Attenborough
  • Life on Earth by David Attenborough
  • Phantoms in the Brain by Ramachandran


Neurobiology:
  • The Development of Intersensory Perception by Lewkowitz
  • Bioelectricity by Suckling
  • Corticonics by Abeles
  • Microcircuits by Grillner
  • Networks of the Brain by Olaf Sporns
  • The Mutable Brain by Jon Kaas
  • Neurophysiology of Consciousness by Benjamin Libet
  • Quest for Consciousness by Christof Koch
  • The Merging of the Senses by Stein and Meredith
  • Behavior and its Neural Control in Gastropod Molusks by Ronald Chase
  • Animal Bodies, Human Minds


Adventure:
  • Suffer and Survive by Martin Goodman
  • Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
  • Seaworthy by T.R. Pearson
  • The Heart of the Arctic by Ernest Shackleton
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
  • We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth


Geology:
  • Sedminentary Geology by Prothero, Schwab
  • Earth's Climate Past and Future by Ruddman


Physics:
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David Griffiths




Research:
My research has focused on neural engineering involving both invasive and non-invasive techniques.

A) Invasive Techniques:
Creating novel neural connectivity in the brain to facilitate natural learning beyond inherent abilities, and directly implanting new skills into the brain, and/or deleting existing skills. The former has involved tissue & materials engineering, while the latter has involved electrophysiological 'programming' and pharmacological manipulation of the neural connections which store 'muscle memories' in the brain.

   I. Creating Artificial Synesthesia Connections:
The brain's long distance connections ('white matter') are thouight to perform a fundamental role in the differences between cognitive abilities between species. These connections cannot be as easily modified by experience as shorter, more local connections ('grey matter'). Because of this, the engineering of white matter must instead rely on the physical creation of new connections via tissue engineering. Our studies involving the creation of artificial white matter connections via both 1) the creation of hydrogel tunnels embedded with dissociated neurons and 2) the grafting of degenerated peripheral nerves into brain tissue. Peripheral nerves grafted between seperate regions of the sensory cortex facilitate growth of novel axonal connectivity between these regions, creating a synesthetic effect (hand sensory region responding equaly well to whisker stimulation).

   II. Programming New 'Muscle Memories':
The learning of new 'muscle memories' takes a great deal of time and effort and can therefore be limited more by behavioral factors than brain circuit capabilities and capacities. Muscle memories are refered to as sensorimotor memories in the neurobiology field. This is because they all involve first a sensing of ones environment and then an appropriate reaction to that sensory information. To advance the possibility of being able to instantaneously program new skills directly into the brain we attempted to modulate the weights of existing synaptic connections between the sensory (input) and motor (output) cortex. Using patterns of electrical microstimulation in both brain regions we successfully enhanced the strength of connectivity between specific, localized regions of the sensory and motor cortex. This is the first time that such an artificial manipulation of synaptic strength between the sensory and motor cortex has been shown. Future studies will acertain the degree to which these induced changes result in behavioral correlates.     

   III. Deleting Existing 'Muscle Memories' & Sensory Maps:
In order to program new memories into the brain it may be useful in the future to delete existing memories, in order to free up limited neural real estate. We performed studies using ZIP, a drug which interferes with a protein thought to be highly involved in the storage of memories. ZIP deleted recently learned, and distantly learned sensorimotor memories, but allowed normal relearning of these memories afterwards, suggesting that no damage was done to the brain. In electrophysiological experiments it was observed that ZIP disrupted both natural response properties of the sensory cortex as well as sensory map boundaries.


B) NonInvasive Techniques:
While invasive techniques allow micromanipulation of neural circuitry, noninvasive techniques are advantageous as they facilitate system-wide effects. Non-invasive techniques that we've utilized include low current electrical stimulation (transcranial direct current stimulation, tDCS), low power magnetic stimulation (transcranial static magnetic field stimulation, tSMS), and behavioral influence techniques, such as embodied cognition, and virtual reality. Our past research with tDCS has shown significant results in augmenting sensorimotor abilities, and currently ongoing research using tSMS and behavioral techniques are returning encouraging results. There is currently very little understanding of how to to modify one's own self. Our goal is to develop non-invasive techniques which will fascilitate one's own chosen personal change.
lee M. von kraus
Lee von Kraus
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Lee M. von Kraus

Neuroscientist, Inventor, Engineer, Firefighter, Entrepreneur
Hiking / Camping / Hunting              Sailing / Kitesurfing              Mountain Biking

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