Michel M. Maharbiz (Advisor)

Research Advised by Professor Michel M. Maharbiz

BPN690: Manipulating Cellular Behavior and Wound Healing via Local Electric Field Stimulation

Daniel J. Cohen

One of the first things that happens when you cut your skin is that a DC electric field arises at the wound site. This field, first discovered in the mid-1800s, is called 'the wound field', and has been shown to exist in a variety of forms in a variety of wounds. The salient point of the wound field is that there is reason to believe that we may be able to manipulate it to improve how our injuries heal in certain cases. In particular, we are considering assisting healing of injuries to skin, intestine, and bone using a device that can encompass the wound site, monitor particular...

BPN726: Transparent Microelectrode Arrays for Hybrid Experiments in Neuroscience

Brian Pepin

Optogenetics techniques that have been developed over the previous decade allow cell-type specific optical stimulation of neurons in-vivo. However, it remains a challenge to perform simultaneous electrical recording while providing optical stimulation due to photoelectric artifact generated at the microelectrode recording sites. This project aims to address this challenge by developing bio- compatible microelectrode arrays with optically transparent recording sites. Current devices are optimized for performing electrocorticography (ECoG) experiments and use Indium-Tin Oxide (ITO, a...

BPN717: Proof of Concept: Self-Assembly of a Multi-Cellular Synthetic-Biological Hybrid

Tom J. Zajdel

This year-long proof of concept explores the interplay between bacterial communication circuits and the surface topology of the substrate they are on, to see if certain designed surface features can be made to trigger genetic development switches. Differentiation due to a diffusible chemical signal is central in the development of multicellular organisms. Success in replicating this strategy on a synthetic structure enables a spatially programmable consortium of bacterial cells. Our aims were to enable the self-assembly of multicellular microbial films on the surface of synthetic...

BPN518: Synthetic Turing Patterns

Justin Hsia

Understanding symmetry breaking is at the heart of developmental biology, from the origins of polarity, cellular differentiations, and how the leopard got its spots, as well as crucial to the future engineering of complex cellular ensembles. Alan Turing proposed a simple mathematical model that explains how the reaction-diffusion mechanism can cause an initially uniform concentration in an ensemble of cells to spontaneously become non-uniform and form patterns (Turing patterns). To date, no true synthetic Turing patterns have been created using gene networks, so our goal is to design...

BPN571: Implantable Microengineered Neural Interfaces for Studying and Controlling Insects

Travis L. Massey

Our goal is to control the flight of an insect by appropriating its sensory systems. Although significant funding has gone in to developing micro air vehicles (MAVs, wingspan <15cm), flying insects still significantly outperform the most sophisticated flying robots in efficiency, flight time, stability, and maneuverability. The restrictions that such a small spatial scale places on the amount of energy that can be stored on-board and on actuator efficiency means that this gap is expected to continue for a number of years to come. We are therefore pursuing a novel MAV design that...

BPN699: A Modular System for High-Density, Multi-Scale Electrophysiology

Maysamreza Chamanzar

Truly large-scale electrophysiology simultaneous recording of thousands of individual neurons in multiple brain areas remains an elusive goal of neuroscience. The traditional approach of studying single neurons in isolation assumes that the brain can be understood one component at a time. However, in order to fully understand the function of whole brain circuits, it is essential to observe the interactions of large numbers of neurons in multiple brain areas simultaneously with high spatiotemporal resolution. This project will establish a complete system for multi-scale...

BPN769: Acousto-Optic Modulation of Brain Activity: Novel Techniques for Optogenetic Stimulation and Imaging

Maysam Chamanzar

One of the fundamental challenges in monitoring and modulating central nervous system activity is the lack of tools for simultaneous non-invasive interrogation of local neuronal ensembles in different regions of the brain. Despite recent advances in neural modulation techniques, including a rapidly expanding optogenetic and imaging toolset, we still lack a robust, minimally- invasive optogenetic stimulation platform. The ability to independently deliver light to multiple highly-localized regions of the brain would drastically improve in vivo optogenetic experiments. Illuminating a...

BPN745: Wafer-Scale Intracellular Carbon Nanotube-Based Neural Probes

Konlin Shen

Current in-vivo methods of electrical recordings of the brain are hampered by low spatial resolution, invasiveness to the surrounding tissue, and scalability. Carbon nanotube based electrodes are ideal for intracellular neural recordings due to their small size and flexibility, allowing for higher density arrays and less damage to the brain. However, current methods for selective placement and alignment of carbon nanotubes cannot be done easily on a wafer scale. This project aims to solve this issue in order to create wafer-scale carbon nanotube based neural probes for intracellular...

BPN808: Acoustic Detection of Neural Activity

Konlin Shen

There is a need for non-invasive methods of neural probing without genetic modification for both clinical and scientific use. It has been found that action potentials are accompanied by small nanometer-scale membrane deformations in firing neurons. These mechanical waves, known as “action waves”, travel down axons in concert with action potentials and could be used to determine neuronal activity. Because acoustic waves are far less lossy in the brain than electromagnetic waves, we believe it may be possible to detect action waves from neurons up to 4 millimeters away with a...

BPN731: Flexible Electrodes and Insertion Machine for Stable, Minimally-Invasive Neural Recording

Timothy L. Hanson

Current approaches to interfacing with the nervous system mainly rely on stiff electrode materials, which work remarkably well, but suffer degradation from chronic immune response due to mechanical impedance mismatch and blood-brain barrier disruption. This current technology also poses limits on recording depth, spacing, and location. In this project we aim to ameliorate these issues by developing a system of very fine and flexible electrodes for recording from nervous tissue, a robotic system for manipulating and implanting these electrodes, and a means for integrating electrodes...