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About Us

Leading the way towards relief

BackStop Neural is developing a spinal cord stimulation (SCS) system with a novel lead featuring thin-film electrodes encapsulated with a softening polymer. Our thinner leads enable neuromodulation of the spinal cord when space is limited in order to better address the needs of under-served patient populations with chronic neck and arm pain.

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Our Foundation

The life of Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Carmel (MD, PhD) was radically altered in 1999 when his twin brother David sustained a spinal cord injury during a diving accident which instantly paralyzed him from the chest down.  As a result, Jason, still in medical school at the time, decided to specialize in neurology and neuroscience.  

Dr. Carmel has since dedicated his career to researching ways to help people with spinal cord injuries recover function including using spinal cord stimulation. BackStop Neural is proud to be part of this mission of relieving pain and restoring movement.

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Meet The Team

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Co-Founder & President

Dr. Walter Voit (PhD, Georgia Tech) holds an associate professorship at UT Dallas where he explores the thermomechanics of shape memory polymers, 3D printing, flexible bioelectronics, next generation neural interfaces, degradable polymers, and the effects of ionizing radiation on polymers. In addition to BackStop Neural, he has co-founded a multitude of other companies. Dr. Voit is an International Atomic Energy Agency consultant in the field of radiation crosslinked SMPs, as well as a DARPA Young Faculty Awardee and DARPA Director’s Fellow. Dr. Voit was inducted as a Senior Member of the esteemed National Academy of Inventors.
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Co-Founder & CMO

Dr. Jason Carmel (MD-PhD) is the Weinberg Family Associate Professor of Neurology and the Director of the Movement Recovery Laboratory at Columbia University. Dr. Carmel is a neurologist and motor systems neuroscientist with expertise in animal models of human disease and clinical neurology. He directs the translational research program which models repair strategies in animals with brain and spinal cord injury and uses those results to design better treatments for patients. The main therapeutic approach of the laboratory is electrical stimulation of brain and spinal cord, with primary tools including electrophysiology, behavior, and anatomy of neural circuits.

Co-Founder & CEO

Connie Manz (MS, MIT & UTD) leverages her technical background and consulting experience to commercialize flexible bioelectronics based on softening substrate technologies. Prior to her position with BackStop Neural, Ms. Manz was the lab finance manager for the Advanced Polymer Research Laboratory and Center for Engineering Innovation at UT Dallas. Past experience also includes conducting research at MIT, The Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology in Singapore, and Draper Labs, business strategy consulting experience with Mars & Co., and the co-founder of multiple other biomedical device companies.
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Chief Product Officer

Kial Gramley (MBA, University of Texas – Pan American) is a proud veteran having honorably served our country overseas. He has a proven track record for developing new technologies including nanofibers and additive manufacturing as well as launching new products in markets ranging from automotive to consumer goods to healthcare. Gramley’s business acumen complements the BackStop Neural team’s core competencies in materials science and neuromodulation, and Gramley has extensive experience with shape memory polymers and modulus sensitive materials, such as those that power core innovations from BackStop Neural.
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Sr. Product Engineer

Dr. Pedro Rocha (PhD, UT Dallas) began his career in 2009 as a Professor at the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de la Región Carbonífera; his expertise covered a range of subjects from computer-aided design and manufacturing to advanced automation. In 2012, while continuing to teach, he ventured into entrepreneurship, establishing a company that focused on automation projects within automotive and metal mechanical industries. Dr. Rocha has published nine peer-reviewed papers in the field of flexible electronics for medical applications, holds two patents, and has presented papers at the North American Neuromodulation Society and the Biomedical Engineering Society.

Our Advisory Board


Dr. Steven Falowski

Dr. Steven Falowski is an award-winning neurosurgeon, renowned for his expertise and leadership in the field of neurosurgery and especially neuromodulation. Dr. Falowski sits on the boards of the International Neuromodulation Society (INS) and the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN), and he is director of functional neurosurgery at Neurosurgical Associates of Lancaster. He completed his residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a functional neurosurgical fellowship at Rush University in Chicago.

Dr. Steven Falowski

Functional Neurosurgeon

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Dr. Peter Staats

Dr. Peter Staats is a renowned pain management physician and founder of the division of Pain Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He is a board-certified pain management physician with over 20 years of experience, recognized for his expertise in minimally invasive interventional procedures and his commitment to patient-centered care. He has served in leadership roles at prestigious medical institutions and is a past president of the North American Neuromodulation Society and the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. 

Dr. Peter Staats

CMO National Pain and Spine Centers

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Dr. Stephen Hochschuler

Dr. Stephen Hochschuler is the founder and chairman emeritus of the Texas Back Institute with over four decades of experience in orthopedic surgery. In addition to co-founding one of the largest spine specialty clinics globally, Dr. Hochschuler is an esteemed author, is a member of multiple Academies and Societies, and is a founding member of The American Board of Spine Surgery, The American College of Spine Surgery, the Spinal Arthroplasty Society, and the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery.

Dr. Stephen Hochschuler

Founder & Chairman Emeritus Texas Back Institute

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