Focused Session FQ-6
Next Generation Implantable Neural Interfaces


FQ-6:IL04  Magnetoelectric Nanomaterials for Wireless Neuronal Modulation
K. KOZIELSKI, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany

Electrical communication with the brain and spinal cord are critical to our understanding of the nervous system, and in the treatment of neurological disorders. Devices that electrically sense or stimulate the nervous system have enabled remarkable medical breakthroughs, but neural device technology is currently only in use with a limited patient population. A nanoscale neural device that operates wirelessly could be implanted less invasively than a larger prosthetic, potentially lowering risk. Nanoscale magnetoelectric (ME) materials, those that couple magnetic fields to electric fields, can allow us to wirelessly generate electric signals using input magnetic signals. Herein, I will introduce ME nanoelectrodes as a versatile platform technology for wireless brain interfacing. I will describe their chemical synthesis and characterization, and an analysis of magnetic powering. I will show their ability to wirelessly modulate neuronal activity in vitro and in vivo. I will also show that wireless deep brain modulation yields modulation of other regions within basal ganglia circuitry, and promotes behavioral change in mice. I will then conclude with a discussion on potential future applications of these materials for wireless medical intervention.

FQ-6:IL05  The Role of Ultra-flexible Electronics in Developing Advanced Brain Computer Interfaces
L. Maiolo, A. Convertino, F. Maita, D. Polese, G. Fortunato, Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IMM-CNR), Roma, Italy

In neuroscience, the understanding of basic principles underlying the neuron communication and the definition of pathological behaviors due to neurological disorders remain a pivotal challenge. Nowadays, improvements in electronics and materials science allow designing and manufacturing innovative systems to be used as Advanced Brain Computer Interfaces (ABCIs). Especially in long-term implants, miniaturization is now defining novel concepts but many issues remain unsolved: local signal amplification, high-density recording array, tissue reaction, material stability, etc. To this purpose, ultra-flexible electronics can offer astonishing solutions, providing applications with multi-sensing capabilities. In this work, we present a bundle of technologies based on ultra-flexible electronics that enables the fabrication of ultra-compact ABCIs to be used in different applications like neurorehabilitation and electrophysiology, both for in vivo and in vitro applications. We also offer a wide overview of the most interesting materials and design in the field.

FQ-6:IL06  Axon-like Neural Interface
D.M. DURAND, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

Interest in the field of neural prosthetics has grown significantly in the last 20 years. Yet only few applications such as cochlear prosthesis have found their way into patient therapy. One of the major reasons for this lack of success is the nerve-computer interface. Recent development in electrode design, particularly nerve cuff electrodes such as the Flat Nerve Interface Electrode (FINE) design can recover the motor intent from at least two fascicles in freely moving dogs. Yet human nerves have many fascicles with small diameters and a leap in technology is required. Recent developments with carbonanotubes yarns (CNTYs) nerve interface could meet these requirements. A neural interface was implemented with carbon nanotube (CNT) yarn electrodes to chronically record neural activity very small nerves such as the glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves in rodents.  The recorded neural signals maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio (>10 dB) in chronic implant models and have been shown in rodents to last for 1 to 4 months.  These results establish a novel, chronic platform neural interfacing technique that can be deployed to develop a system to recover motor intent signals in patients with amputation and to interface with the autonomic nervous system to monitor and control internal organ function.

FQ-6:IL07  Organic Nanotechnology for Optical Modulation of Living Systems, from Genesis to Specific Functions
M.R. Antognazza, Center for Nano Science and Technology, Italian Institute of Technology, Milano, Italy

Use of light for selective and spatio-temporally resolved control of cell functions (photoceutics) is emerging as a valuable alternative to standard electrical and chemical methods. Here, we propose the use of organic semiconductors as efficient and biocompatible optical transducers, and we focus in particular on breakthrough applications in the field of regenerative medicine. Fabrication and characterization of light-sensitive polymer beads, internalized within the cell cytosol, will be described. We report on functional interaction with intracellular proteins, possibly leading to non-toxic modulation of the cell metabolism. Moreover, we present a novel strategy to gain optical control of Endothelial Progenitor Cell (EPC) fate. We demonstrate that polymer photostimulation induces a robust enhancement of cells proliferation and lumen formation in vitro, and we identify the pathways leading to an effective enhancement of ECFCs network formation. Altogether, our results represent a novel effective method to optically induce angiogenesis in vitro. This work represents, to the best of our knowledge, the first report on use of organic semiconductors for optical modulation of the cell fate, with disruptive perspectives in cell-based therapies.


Cimtec 2022

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