An engineer and entrepreneur, David Borkholder is the Bausch and Lomb Professor of Microsystems Engineering at RIT. His research spans biosensors, MEMs, medical devices, and therapies for auditory dysfunction. His work on soldier borne blast dosimetry systems resulted in fielding of the Blast Gauge technology in Afghanistan, providing a new capability in the battle against traumatic brain injury. This sensor system is now produced by BlackBox Biometrics; a company he founded and where he serves as the Chief Technology Officer.

Prior to joining RIT, David served as the Director of Hardware Engineering at ZONARE Medical Systems, and the Director of Electronic Systems at Cepheid. He was a member of the DARPA Defense Sciences Research Council (DSRC) and former Chair of the NIH Bioengineering of Neuroscience, Vision, and Low Vision Technologies (BNVT) study section. David is an avid scuba diver, huntsman, and malt fermentation specialist.


  • Present2015

    Bausch and Lomb Professor

    Microsystems Engineering, RIT

  • 20152012

    Bausch and Lomb Associate Professor

    Microsystems Engineering, RIT

  • Present2011

    Chief Technology Officer and Chairman

    BlackBox Biometrics, Inc.

  • Present2007

    Associate Professor

    Electrical Engineering and Microsystems Engineering, RIT

  • Present2007

    Adjunct Associate Professor

    Otolaryngology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

  • 20072006

    Adjunct Assistant Professor

    Otolaryngology, University of Rochester

  • 20072004

    Assistant Professor

    Electrical Engineering, RIT

  • 20042001

    Director of Engineering

    ZONARE Medical Systems, Inc.

  • 20012000

    Director of Engineering


  • 20001998

    Senior Scientist


Education & Training

  • 2007

    Biology of the Inner Ear: Experimental & Analytical Approaches

    Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole

  • Ph.D. 1999

    PhD in Electrical Engineering

    Stanford University

  • MS 1994

    Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

    Stanford University

  • BS 1992

    Bachelor of Science in Microelectronic Engineering

    Rochester Institute of Technology


  • Present2014

    Board of Directors, RedSky (Biomedical Institute of the Americas)

  • 20162012

    NIH Bioengineering of Neuroscience, Vision and Low Vision Technologies (BNVT) study section

    Chair 2014-2016

  • 20152009

    Defense Sciences Research Council

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • 2016
    RIPLA Distinguished Inventor of the Year
    Professor Borkholder was honored as the Distinguished Inventor of the Year by the Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association for his development and commercialization of the Blast Gauge System.
  • 2015-2020
    Enabling Microsystem Technologies for Advanced Drug Delivery
    Development of implantable micropumps and models of drug delivery for use in biotherapeutic treatments including permanent hearing loss, balance problems and deafness.
    NIH National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders ($2.8MM)
    Role: PI
  • 2014-2016
    Inconspicuous Daily Medical Analyses
    Non-invasive measures of key cardiac parameters.
    Google ($1.6MM)
    Role: PI
  • 2014
    Rochester Business Journal Health Care Achievement Award

    Innovation award for research leading to the successful commercialization and fielding of the Blast Gauge System.

  • 2013-2014
    Blast Gauge for the Integrated Soldier Sensor Suite
    Develop an advanced Blast Gauge platform that integrates into the next generation soldier sensor system.
    Sub-contract to BAE Systems
    Role: PI (BlackBox Biometrics, Inc.)
  • 2013-2014
    Blast Dosimeter for Monitoring and Documenting Blast Exposure for Breacher and Route Clearance Personnel
    Develop a portable, cost-efficient blast force monitoring device that can be easily deployed by Marines and other ground forces in the theater of operations to measure, record, and display overpressure and force acceleration data from varying blast type events to which these troops are exposed.
    Marine Corps Systems Command SBIR ($150k)
    Role: PI (BlackBox Biometrics, Inc.)
  • 2012-2015
    Partnerships for Innovation in Printed Devices and Materials
    This research seeks to build innovation capacity pertaining to printed devices and materials including sensors, actuators, and displays.
    National Science Foundation ($599k)
    Role: Co-I (Cormier PI)
  • 2012-2014
    Partnership for Nanomembranes in Microscale Biodevices
    This research aims to apply porous nanocrystalline silicon (pnc-Si) membranes to microscale preparative and analytical systems, and low flow rate electroosmotic pumps.
    National Science Foundation ($600k)
    Role: Co-I (McGrath PI)
  • 2012
    Bausch and Lomb Endowed Chair

    Bausch and Lomb Endowed Chair – 2012

  • 2011-2013
    Blast Gauge Field Research Studies
    This research aimed to pilot deployment of the Blast Gauge in Afghanistan to validate device performance, refine distribution and recovery logistics, and evaluate wearability of the device.
    DARPA Microsystems Technology Office ($9.9MM)
    Role: PI (BlackBox Biometrics, Inc.)
  • 2012-2014
    Adaptive User-Guided Assistive Listening System
    This research aimed to test the hypothesis that an assistive listening system with dynamic, user-controlled directional characteristics improves communication for the hearing impaired significantly relative to traditional fixed-directional systems.
    National Science Foundation RAPD ($300k)
    Role: PI
  • 2010-2011
    Soldier Wearable Blast Dosimeter
    This research aimed to address a critical need for measurement of blast exposure and resulting head acceleration in combat troops through development of a soldier borne dosimeter system.
    DARPA Microsystems Technology Office ($1.2MM)
    Role: PI
  • 2009-2010
    Continuous Glucose Detection with Nanoscale Sensors
    Exploration of genetically expressed FRET probes for epidermal monitoring of blood glucose levels.
    Blue Highway ($88k)
    Role: PI
  • 2009-2011
    Integrated, Non-Invasive, Continuous Blood Pressure Monitor
    Research sensor modalities and pressure wave hemodynamics for robust cuff-less blood pressure estimation.
    National Semiconductor ($130k)
    Role: PI
  • 2006-2011
    Improved Micro-Technologies for Inner Ear Drug Delivery
    A Mentored Career Development Award exploring intra-cochlear dosing profiles for gene therapy studies in the mouse model system while preserving cochlear function. Implantable micropump development is targeted at expanding drug delivery capabilities, allowing repetitive cochlear infusions of multiple agents over extended periods for more complex deafness therapies.
    NIH National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders ($922k)
    Role: PI (mentor: Robert D. Frisina)


U.S. Air Force