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2022

Open Post-Doctoral Positions in the McIntyre Lab

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We seek highly-motivated individuals to join our team who enjoy the freedom to pursue their own scientific ideas in a supportive environment. There are several NIH-funded project directions to choose from. Available options range from studying the fundamentals of neuron biophysics, to computational neuroscience algorithm development, to direct translation of connectomic brain stimulation hypotheses into clinical practice.

Individuals with an earned PhD in Biomedical Engineering (or related disipline) and previous research experience in brain stimulation and/or neural recording are encouraged to apply. We would also consider candiates with an MD, and a strong computational background, that are interested in doing a research fellowship. These full-times positions with University Benefits will be at the Post-Doctoral Fellow or Research Associate level, depending on qualifications.

The McIntyre Lab has an exceptional track record of helping early career scientists transition into tenure-track faculty positions or leaderships roles in the neuromodulation industry. Duke University provides a wonderful environment for collaboration across the Engineering and Medicine campuses, which are literally across the street from each other, and the McIntyre Lab is strategically located in between them. The Raleigh-Durham area is vibrant and growing with excellent weather and a high quality of life.

Cameron McIntyre, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Neurosurgery
cameron.mcintyre@duke.edu
Duke University is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer.

Translational Neuromodulation T32 Fellowship Opportunity

T32 Training Program in Translational Neuromodulation
Post-Doc Fellows | Clinical Associates Check more details.

Interested in researching, developing, and translating next-generation neuromodulation technology?

Program Overview

The mission of this NIH T32 program at the University of Minnesota is to train a diverse group of post-doctoral fellows and clinical associates, provide them with world-class opportunities to develop and translate new neuromodulation technologies to humans, and launch their careers as next-generation thought leaders in translational neuromodulation research.

Trainees will have opportunities to conduct translational research with program faculty who are pioneers in (a) deep brain stimulation therapies for brain disorders, (b) techniques for manipulating the spread of brain cancer, (c) peripheral nerve stimulation for treatment of cardiometabolic and inflammatory disorders, and (d) spinal cord stimulation for spinal cord injury.

The University of Minnesota is surrounded by a world-renowned medical device ecosystem, which is home to many companies developing neuromodulation technologies.

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Postdoc Opportunity.

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Post doc positions In Neural engineering.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate -orStaff Research Scientist
Neural Engineering and Neural Prostheses

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We seek highly-motivated individuals who enjoy the freedom to pursue their own ideas in a supportive environment to join our team. We have multiple opportunities to pursue modeling,experimental, and clinical studies to advance electrical for restoration of function.

We presently have active projects in:

  • Autonomic nerve stimulation and block: vagus nerve stimulation; computational modeling for analysis and design; in vivo electrophysiology
  • Deep brain stimulation: mechanisms of action; closed-loop control; design of innovative therapies
  • Spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic pain: modeling, preclinical studies, and clinical studies to understand mechanisms and to innovate for increased therapeutic efficacy
  • Peripheral nerve and spinal cord stimulation for control of bladder function, including restoration of continence and emptying
  • Intracortical microstimulation and recording for restoration of sensory function
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation: mechanisms and innovations to increase efficacy
We conduct computer-based modeling of neurons and electric fields, in vivo stimulation and recording in preclinical models, and translational clinical feasibility / physiology experiments in humans. The strong interdisciplinary and collaborative environment at Duke is ideal for our translational research efforts.

An earned PhD and previous research experience with computational or experimental electrophysiology are required, as are excellent communication skills. A start date before year’s end is preferred.

This is a full-time position with University Benefits and provides exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary research and career development.

For consideration submit a CV and the names and contact information of three professional references as a .pdf file attachment to: Warren M. Grill, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
warren.grill@duke.edu
Duke University is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer.

TWO openings for teaching faculty positions in UF BME.

Assistant/Associate/Full Instructional Professor J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering University of Florida

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The J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering in The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida seeks to hire two twelve-month, full-time, non-tenure track faculty to teach undergraduate and graduate students in core Biomedical Engineering courses.

The University of Florida (UF) is a major public research university. The state's oldest and most comprehensive university, UF is among the nation's most academically diverse public universities. As a land-, sea- and space-grant institution, UF is dedicated to serving the interests of society and is an economic powerhouse behind Florida's economy. The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering (HWCOE) at the University of Florida houses one of the largest and most dynamic engineering programs in the nation, producing leaders and problem-solvers who take a multidisciplinary approach to innovative and human-centered solutions. Established in 1910, the college was named after Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Herbert Wertheim in 2015. The J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) has experienced rapid transformation and growth over the past five years. The Department has strengths in the areas of biomaterials and regenerative medicine, biomedical data science, imaging diagnostics and therapeutics, and neural engineering. BME faculty benefit from close collaborations with the College of Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Liberal Arts and Life Sciences. Faculty and students in BME also interact with clinicians at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center, located south of campus. Faculty and students in BME benefit from a wide array of state-of-the-art instrumentation housed in service centers throughout UF. In addition, the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education (IE3) in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering provides a host of resources in engineering education research, the delivery of innovative and effective instructional methods, and engineering education assessment. Together, these programs and facilities provide a vibrant environment supportive of cutting-edge biomedical engineering research and education.

The University of Florida counts among its greatest strengths and a major component of its excellence that it values broad diversity in its faculty, students, and staff and creates a robust, inclusive, and welcoming climate for learning, research, and other work. UF is committed to equal educational and employment opportunity and access and seeks individuals of all races, ethnicities, genders, and other attributes who, among their many exceptional qualifications, have a record of including a broad diversity of individuals in work and learning activities. The selection process will be conducted in accord with the provisions of Florida's 'Government in the Sunshine' and Public Records Laws. Search committee meetings and interviews will be open to the public, and applications, resumes, and many other documents related to the search will be available for public inspection. The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida seeks instructional faculty members to contribute to our rapidly growing and evolving undergraduate and graduate programs through excellence, innovation, and leadership in engineering education. These 12-month, non-tenure track, full-time positions are at the rank of Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Master Lecturer with working titles of Instructional Assistant Professor, Instructional Associate Professor, or Instructional Full Professor

The faculty members will instruct selected biomedical engineering courses depending on the specific needs of the department. Preference will be given to candidates whose expertise and/or teaching abilities span the general needs of the department, which includes Python programming, instrumentation, engineering design, cell culture, or general engineering courses, such as fundamentals, thermodynamics, transport, physiology, or molecular biomedical engineering. The faculty members will also contribute to continuous curriculum improvement, academic program ABET accreditation, and developing new educational initiatives. Successful submission and funding of grants focused on engineering education will be strongly encouraged. The faculty members will have the opportunity to participate in department, university, and professional service activities.

Although applications will be accepted until the position is filled, the deadline for full consideration is August 15, 2022.

Minimum Requirements: We seek outstanding candidates who have a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering or bioengineering, or a closely related discipline. Candidates with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering or a closely related discipline are highly desirable. Applicants must have an outstanding record of academic accomplishments, a strong interest in undergraduate teaching in biomedical engineering, and a commitment to professional service (e.g., through participation in professional societies). The successful candidate will be expected to teach biomedical engineering undergraduate courses, collaborate with faculty in and outside the department, and be involved in service to the university and the profession.

Preferred qualifications: Previous experience with teaching core courses typical to an undergraduate biomedical engineering curriculum instruction is highly desirable. Industry experience and/or contacts are also highly desirable for creating new internship or similar programsfor undergraduate students. Candidates will be expected to interface closely with the department development office to foster new industry connections within the department.

Special Instructions: The search committee will begin reviewing applications August 15, 2022 and will continue to receive applications until the positions are filled. All applications must be submitted through UFCareers at: https://facultyjobs.hr.ufl.edu/. (521040: https://explore.jobs.ufl.edu/en-us/job/521040/lecturersenior-lecturermaster-lecturer). Complete applications must include the following files in PDF format: (1) letter of interest (summary, introduction related to hiring emphasis areas and a diversity statement including experience in working with diverse and underrepresented groups in engineering); (2) a curriculum vitae; and (3) the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of no less than three and up to five references. Supplemental material such as an engineering outreach and extension program vision statement (with a focus on how any plans will support the college) is welcomed but not required. Supplemental material should be uploaded as one PDF to the "other documents" selection in the application.

The University of Florida is the flagship campus of the State of Florida university system and is ranked as the #5 best public US university according to US News and World Report. UF recently announced a $70 million artificial intelligence partnership with NVIDIA to create an AI-centric data center that houses the world's fastest AI supercomputer in higher education. For more information about the college, please visit http://eng.ufl.edu.

Final candidate will be required to provide an official transcript to the hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not be considered "official" if a designation of "Issued to Student" is visible. Degrees earned from an educational institution outside of the United States are required to be evaluated by a professional credentialing service provider approved by National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)

The University of Florida is an equal opportunity institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff. The University of Florida is An Equal Employment Opportunity Institution. If an accommodation due to a disability is needed to apply for this position, please call 352/392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at 800/955-8771 (TDD). Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the US. Searches are conducted in accordance with Florida's Sunshine Law.

The University of Florida is committed to nondiscrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex,sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations, geneticinformation, and veteran status in all aspects of employment including recruitment, hiring, promotions, transfers, discipline, terminations, wage and salary administration, benefits, and training.

Job opportunity at NIH.

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Department of Health and Human Services

The National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center (NIH CC) is a 200-bed hospital dedicated to clinical research. All care is delivered under active clinical research protocols. The Clinical Center's mission is scientific discovery: approximately half of the clinical protocols evaluate rare (most often genetically-determined) diseases; the other half are clinical trials of novel interventions

Position Description: The Rehabilitation Medicine Department of the NIH CC is seeking a Staff Scientist to join the Neurorobotics Research Group. The Neurorobotics Research Group, under the direction of Dr. Thomas Bulea, PhD, develops innovative device-based approaches to treat movement disorders. These approaches are evaluated in our motion analysis laboratory, where their effects on movement are studied using mobile-brain body imaging techniques including motion capture, EMG and functional neuroimaging (EEG / fNIRS). These methods are also deployed to study the underlying causes of movement disorders and elucidate new approaches to their treatment. We are part of a section where scientists, engineers, and clinicians work together to identify clinical needs, develop new solutions and translate them into practice. This position offers exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration within and outside of NIH.
The role of the Staff Scientist is to support the research of the principal investigator by providing expertise and leadership in the development, implementation and evaluation of novel robotic devices and other technology-based neurorehabilitation strategies. The Staff Scientist serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the group by helping to lead and manage experimental design, data collection and analysis, and mentoring of other lab personnel including pre- and post-doctoral trainees. The Staff Scientist will also provide administrative and/or programmatic support, including assisting with clinical protocol development and regulatory and institutional review board compliance. This position will include the opportunity to present research at meetings and conferences within and outside of NIH and to participate in relevant professional development training.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate for this position will be a dynamic, self-motivated individual possessing a track record of productivity within an academic or other research setting. The Neurorobotics Research Group is a multidisciplinary team and this position provides the opportunity to share in shaping the future of our research program. The ideal candidate will have the following qualities:

  • A PhD in engineering, biomechanics, kinesiology or another closely related field
  • Expertise in EITHER wearable robotics for rehabilitation, movement augmentation, prosthetics and/or functional electrical stimulation OR the study of human movement, including biomechanics, neuromechanics, electromyography (EMG) or mobile-brain body imaging
  • Expertise in EITHER wearable robotics for rehabilitation, movement augmentation, prosthetics and/or functional electrical stimulation OR the study of human movement, including biomechanics, neuromechanics, electromyography (EMG) or mobile-brain body imaging
  • Expertise in scripting (Matlab, R and/or Python) software for data analysis
  • Experience interfacing with regulatory bodies governing clinical trials and research protocols involving human subjects, including the FDA and Institutional Review Boards (IRB)

The successful candidate must have a history of scholarship evidenced by authorship of peer-reviewed publications, and have a demonstrated ability to function independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team. Post-doctoral experience is desirable but not a requirement. Salary will be commensurate with experience and accomplishments. Interested applicants should send a current Curriculum Vitae with a complete list of publications and a cover letter highlighting key qualifications, experience and career goals, and names and contact information of three references to: Thomas C. Bulea, PhD; Tenure Track Investigator at thomas.bulea@nih.gov. Applications can be submitted beginning June 17, 2022 to July 18 2022, when review of applicants will begin.
Applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged. Appointees may be U.S. citizens, resident aliens, or non-resident aliens with or eligible to obtain a valid employment authorized visa. This position is subject to a background investigation.

Vaccine Requirements: Federal agencies may request information regarding the vaccination status of selected applicants for the purposes of implementing other workplace safety protocols, such as protocols related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine. Employees providing healthcare or services in support of healthcare (Healthcare Workforce) may be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine because they are expected to perform duties that put them in contact or potential contact with patients. We may request COVID-19 vaccination, and other vaccination documentation from Healthcare Workforce personnel at any point during the onboarding process or at any time during your employment with NIH.

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Brain Initiative conference.

NIH organized conference is currently underway Its free and virtual https://www.ninds.nih.gov/news-events/events/8th-annual-brain-initiative-meeting

Job opportunity at NIH.

Vacancy Announcement
Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health
Associate Director for Extramural Science Programs
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Are you a senior scientist seeking a leadership career at one of the world's preeminent biomedical research institutes? The National Institute of Biomedical Imagining and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking exceptional candidates for the position of Associate Director for Extramural Science Programs (ESP).

POSITION: The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is seeking exceptional candidates for the challenging position of Associate Director for Extramural Science Programs, NIBIB. The NIBIB conducts national and international programs in the development and application of medical technologies through research, training, and health information dissemination. The NIBIB supports these activities in hundreds of extramural laboratories and clinics throughout the United States and in the NIBIB's intramural facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Associate Director for Extramural Science Programs guides the direction of NIBIB science through new research initiatives and managing research grant, cooperative agreements, and training programs that support the mission of NIBIB. The Associate Director works closely with the NIBIB Director in shaping the direction of the Institute through strategic planning priority setting, and coordination of resources to implement these plans and priorities. This position offers a unique leadership opportunity for an exceptional scientist to have a national impact, serving as the NIBIB's authoritative source on extramural scientific programs; management of extramural research funding; management of the business and non-programmatic areas of grants administration; coordination and oversight of business-related activities associated with the negotiation award, and administration of grants and cooperative agreements within NIBIB; and planning and execution of initial scientific and technical reviews conducted within the NIBIB. The Associate Director has the authority to address and respond to issues that affect the development, implementation, management, and review of NIBIB's extramural scientific programs and activities, while successfully directing the Extramural Science Programs. The Associate Director has the opportunity to work collaboratively across the NIH, with other federal agencies, and with key stakeholders and organizations to further the Institute's mission and priorities. Additional information can be found at: https://www.nibib.nih.gov/research-funding

LOCATION: This position is in Bethesda, Maryland.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must possess an M.D. and/or Ph.D., or equivalent doctoral degree in the biomedical sciences, physical sciences or engineering with broad senior-level research experience and experience in direct administration of a research program. Applicants should be known and respected within the scientific community, both nationally and internationally, as distinguished individuals committed to scientific excellence and having strong administrative capability. Candidates should have demonstrated leadership and organizational skills and have experience serving as a spokesperson; planning, assessing, and analyzing program objectives; and resolving operational problems and issues. Candidates should also have proven ability to manage financial and human resources including building, motivating, and maintaining a culturally diverse staff.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: The Associate Director for Extramural Science Programs, will be appointed at a salary commensurate with his/her/their qualifications and experience. A recruitment or relocation bonus may be available, and relocation expenses may be paid. Full federal benefits, including leave, health and life insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement, and savings plan (401K equivalent) will be provided. The successful candidate is subject to a background investigation and public financial disclosure report prior to the effective date of the appointment.

Please read the following guidance on Selective Service requirements.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Selection for this position will be based solely on merit, with no discrimination for non-merit reasons such as race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability, age, or membership or non-membership in an employee organization. The NIH encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT/FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The NIH inspires public confidence in our science by maintaining high ethical principles. NIH employees are subject to federal government-wide regulations and statutes as well as agency-specific regulations described at the NIH Ethics Website. We encourage you to review this information. The position is subject to a background investigation and requires the incumbent to complete a public financial disclosure report prior to the effective date of the appointment.

FOREIGN EDUCATION: Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside of the U.S. must have their foreign education evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that the foreign education is equivalent to education received in accredited educational institutions in the U.S. We will only accept the completed foreign education evaluation. For more information on Foreign Education verification, visit the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website. Verification must be received prior to the effective date of the appointment.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION: NIH provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation during any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

How to Apply:
Applicants must submit the following documents:
  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of advanced degree
  • Bibliography
  • Full contact details for three references
  • Vision statement (not to exceed two pages)
  • Statement that addresses the specific qualification requirements (not to exceed two pages)
  • Statement indicating how you have promoted equity, diversity and inclusion, and describing your mentoring and outreach activities, especially those involving women and persons from racial/ethnic or other groups that are underrepresented in biomedical research (not to exceed two pages)
Applications must be sent to NIBIB-Recruitment@nih.gov with the subject Line: "Associate Director, ESP." Applications are due by July 12, 2022, 11:59 p.m. to be considered.

You may contact Lynn Hellinger with questions and for more information about this vacancy at the above address
DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR BIRTH DATE OR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN) ON APPLICATION MATERIALS
DHHS, NIH and NIBIB are Equal Opportunity Employers

The BrainGate Research Team at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brown University is hiring postdocs with expertise in computational and systems neuroscience, intracortical neurophysiology, machine learning, or neuroengineering.

Please share this link with all who may be interested in applying! Emails can be directed to postdocs@braingate.org.

Join us for the next APT-CCF Distinguished Lecture presentation:

Mark D. Grabiner, PhD

Professor, Kinesiology and Nutrition
University of Illinois at Chicago
"And one thing just led to another..."
Just about 35 years ago, a chance meeting in an elevator at the Cleveland Clinic led to a collaborative undertaking to reduce the incidence falls by older adults. Based on established and robust principles of motor skill acquisition, our initial focus was directed at trip-related falls. A novel laboratory protocol revealed a set of biomechanical risk factors for trip-related falls by older adults. These risk factors were demonstrated to be modifiable. This led to the design, and ultimately, commercialization of a technology that allowed person-specific protocols to be delivered which, as would be shown, reduced the prospectively measured rate of trip-related falls by older adults in the community. The robust principles governing motor skill acquisition, which led to the premises of the approach, which led to our initial novel findings, which led to the need for new technology, then led to investigation of other categories of preventable, gait-related falls, such as slipping events, and to expanded clinical applications, including the accelerated rehabilitation of active duty members of the U.S. military following lower limb trauma.

Co-op opportunities for students interested in Neurostimulation. [PDF]


Postdoctoral Positions in rehabilitation engineering [PDF]


Medical Student looking for research opportunity [PDF]


POSTDOCTORAL JOB POSITION:

INTRACRANIAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGY OF COGNITION AND EPILEPSY

The Department of Neurology at the University of California, Davis invites applications for a qualified postdoctoral scholar in the area ofneurophysiology in hospitalized patients with implanted brain electrodes.

RESEARCH FOCUS

Our lab analyzes intracranial EEG in patients with epilepsy. We work together with a consortium of researchers to understand the biological basis of how normal brain functions (cognition, mood, memory) and disease states (epilepsy) interact using computational modeling to guide neurostimulation therapy for the syndrome of epilepsy.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • You will be responsible for analyzing electrophysiological data from neurosurgical patients (electrocorticography, stereotactic EEG, single-unit data, stimulation-evoked responses).
  • You will design and lead innovative research lines centered on fundamental concepts of cognition in epilepsy.
  • You will initiate academic publications published in peer-reviewed journals; prepare training grant proposals and other applications for future research.
  • You will engage in lab meetings, mentor trainees, and foster multidisciplinary collaborations.

APPOINTMENT DETAILS

You will work in highly collaborative research and clinical environments at UC Davis. The full-time appointment is for 1-2 years with possibility of renewal. Position level and salary commensurate with training and experience, according to NIH scales. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.


Contact:

Asst. Prof. Sheela Toprani

Sheela Toprani sctoprani@ucdavis.edu

neuroengineering.ucdavis.edu/people/sheela-Toprani

2021

NINDS, NIH BRAIN INITIATIVE: Health Scientist Administrator (Program Director)

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® Initiative (BRAIN Initiative), along with the NINDS Division of Neuroscience, is seeking exceptional candidates for the position of Neurotechnology Program Director (Health Scientist Administrator -13/14 or 15). This is a unique opportunity to advance the Neurotechnology portfolio for the BRAIN Initiative, a historic multi-billion-dollar effort to transform neuroscience by developing the technologies of the future. It offers collaborations with highly motivated, skilled, and scientifically curious colleagues from 10 NIH Institutes and Centers and from partner agencies such as NSF and DARPA. It requires extensive engagement and outreach to the research community to assess trends, communicate priorities, and identify new opportunities. Responsibilities include developing new programs, making funding recommendations, and direct managerial oversight of grants and research cooperative agreements. The position will be responsible for overseeing a portfolio of grants and cooperative agreements to support these scientific areas: neural interface technologies that record, modulate, or stimulate neural activity; novel materials and neural interface devices; and biotechnologies applied to the nervous system (including development of hardware, software, and computational techniques). Candidates should possess a doctoral degree and post-doctoral training, with expertise in research towards understanding and applying neural engineering concepts and technologies. We encourage applications from candidates who enjoy working collaboratively and bring a diverse perspective to neural engineering research.
Job Post Link:https://www.ninds.nih.gov/About-NINDS/Jobs-At-NINDS/Health-Scientist-Administrator-neural-engineering
Please send a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to Dr. Ned Talley at talleye@ninds.nih.gov.

Job Posting Boston Scientific
Field Clinical Engineer - Neuromodulation
(bostonscientific.com)
Remote Eligible: Remote in Country
Onsite Locations(s):
Valencia, CA, US
Additional Locations: US-MA-Boston
Boston Scientific's hybrid workplace includes remote and onsite roles. By applying to this position, you will have the opportunity to discuss your preferred working location with your Talent Acquisition Specialist.
Hiring Manager: Roshini Jain
Recruiter: Sharon Kathleen Romesser

What makes Boston Scientific Neuromodulation so special?
We've seen the difference that neuromodulation technology such as spinal cord stimulation and deep brain stimulation can make. These breakthroughs have helped more than 400,000 people worldwide over the past four decades. But there is still enormous potential to help even more people. In our drive to be the world leader in neurological devices, we strive to improve every life we touch through our dedication to innovation, our commitment to people, and our passion for performance.

About This Role: The Field Clinical Engineer acts as a liaison between Boston Scientific Neuromodulation and clinical research study centers to ensure the quality of patient care, data integrity and regulatory compliance in accordance with clinical protocol requirements. This person will visit various clinical study sites in/around a specific region, primarily, but may travel throughout U.S. and/or internationally on occasion. The FCE will be in a mostly clinical setting, including hospitals, surgical centers, physician clinics, assuming the risks therein (e.g. proximity to biohazardous materials, infectious disease, radiation, etc.). There will be up to 75% travel on episodic basis.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Clinical Study Development: Participate in development of clinical study deliverables, such as protocol design, source documentation, work instructions, patient recruitment materials and product training. Assist with site selection process including field technical assessments.
  • Clinical Study Execution: Assist internal core team and external clinical sites with product and protocol training, patient recruitment, device management, device programming, device troubleshooting, regulatory compliance, complaint reporting and data management.
  • Product Support: Assist internal cross-functional teams in the standard product development process, including market & functional specifications, risk management, verification/validation testing and documentation. Contribute to product intellectual property submissions. Troubleshoot and solve problems with products in the field. Provide training to internal and external customers.
  • Communication: Effectively communicate corporate objectives and policies with external sites. Report site activity through internal channels to ensure effective data collection, patient safety, regulatory compliance and product development. Assist with writing, reviewing, submitting and/or presenting internally or externally-generated scientific literature (abstracts, manuscripts, etc.). Confer regularly with physicians and staff on protocol, products or patient issues. Attend and report on seminars and conferences.
Minimum Qualifications:
  • Bachelor's in Biomedical Engineering or a related field. Coursework or documented training shall include:
    • Basic Engineering
    • Neurosciences
    • Implantable device support (implantation and programming)
    • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • 2+ years' work experience in a relevant technical or biomedical field. This experience shall include:
    • Managing relationships with physicians
    • Participating in surgical procedures as a technical advisor
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering or a related field
  • 5 years of progressive, post-baccalaureate experience in a technical or biomedical field will substitute for a Master's degree in field listed
  • Ability to fulfill and maintain background and health requirements necessary to gain access to clinical study centers, including surgical procedure locations
Requisition ID: 516928
Nearest Major Market: Los Angeles
Job Segment: Clinic, Medical Technologist, Neurology, Physiology, Engineer, Healthcare, Engineering
Apply Now

Postdoc opportunity in neural engineering
Location: U. of Michigan
Faculty: Dan Leventhal
Topic: Dopamine-acetylcholine interactions during skilled reaching in mice (healthy mice and dystonia model).
Link: https://umichpioneerprogram.org/page24.html

SPR therapeutics is looking for applicants with PhD in Neural Engineering

Congratulations to Tom Mortimer
NANS Lifetime Achievement Award is intended to recognize an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the field of neuromodulation over the course of their career. This year's winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2022 NANS Annual Meeting is J. Thomas Mortimer, PhD.

"It is an understatement to say how deserving Tom is for this Lifetime Achievement Award from NANS. He has been the lifeblood of the inception of the field of BME, neurostimulation, and neural engineering from the very start. As a graduate student, he designed the first Spinal Cord Stimulator. He kept the fledgling activity of electrical stimulation alive when his (and our) colleague Jim Reswick went west to USC and Rancho Los Amigos Hospital to found the first Rehabilitation Engineering Center. (Just so you know, Tom gives credit to Jim and Lojze Vodovnik for the inspiration, but Tom made it real). I was fortunate, as was Pat Crago, to come along about this time, and I was Tom's first graduate student and Pat his second. Tom went on to be the creative mind that founded the Applied Neural Control Laboratory that received what must be the very first awards for electrical stimulation of neural tissue. He worked with Dr. K. Frank who directed the Neural Control Laboratory at NIH and a very powerful figure at NIH to fund the first contracts in this area-- which were multidisciplinary activity discovering the fundamental basis of electrical stimulation and exploring the safety issues and developing novel electrodes, among other areas. In clinical indications, Tom investigated bladder control, respiratory control, control of movement in paralyzed limbs, visual restoration, as well as his original SCS work. He was and is the most versatile and creative mind of our field. Lastly, as a founder of our BME Department, one of the originals with Jerry Saidel, he set the tone of what the department would be-- a strong engineering department. I'm pretty sure that virtually every one of our primary neural engineering faculty has lineage back to Tom. He is my academic father, the academic grandfather and great grandfather to the rest of Neural Engineering".

Hunter Peckham

Congratulations Andrew Shoffstall

Andrew and Ken just received a NOA for an Ohio Third Frontier Award. The award falls under the Spinal Cord Research Incentive and is $500,000 over two years, starting as soon as January. The project will use Andrew's injectrode platform in sacral root stimulation for bladder management. He will be working with Ken Gustafson, Neuronoff (Manfred Franke BME Alumni), Kip Ludwig @ Wisconsin, and Dennis Bourbeau @ Metro.
Congrats Andrew and Ken, and good luck!

SFN virtual Forum on Sexual Harassment, Coercion, & Assaults in the Neuroscience Workplace [PDF]

November 11th, 2021: 5:30-6:30pm
Sexual harassment, coercion and assaults are common within the academic and clinical workplace but quite often go unreported (see Society for Neuroscience Conference abstract # 6539/ Poster # J013.01 "What women and minorities are afraid to speak up about"). Women In Neural Engineering (WINE) has organized this forum with experts in the field of sexual misconduct in the workplace to raise awareness of this pervasive problem and discuss steps that individuals and institutions can take to improve their work environment.Anyone is welcome to join this zoom discussion with experts:

Dr. Anna Kirkland, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kirkland's Website
Dr. Vicki J. Magley, Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Connecticut studying workplace sexual harassment and incivility interventions.Dr. Magley's Website
Dr. Louise Stone, General Practitioner and Associate Professor at the Australian National University Medical School researching sexual assault and harassment of doctors, by doctors Dr. Stone's Website
Mx. Elizabeth Waldron, Co-editor of an international research anthology on sexual harm in the medical profession Of Doctors, by Doctors website

You do not need to attend the Society for Neuroscience Conference to participate in this forum.
Join the zoom discussion here:
Meeting ID: 984 5883 8984, Passcode: 306891
Join Zoom Meeting
 

Job opportunity in neural engineering
Senior Neural Decoding Researcher at APL   Read More

Faculty Positions at Boston University
Junior Neuroengineering faculty positions at Boston University   Read More    Apply Here

Ron Triolo is recognized for his contributions to Veterans' Health  Read More

Co-op opportunies in neural engineering for both undergraduate and graduate students.

XII Medical

Job Title: Co-op Engineer
Department: Research and Development
Status: Non-exempt, 40hrs/week
Location: Cleveland, OH
Travel Requirements: None

Summary:
XII Medical is a startup company developing a next generation implantable hypoglossal nerve stimulation system for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The next generation system aims to reduce the invasiveness of the therapy and increase patient compliance by reducing surgical invasiveness and improve the patients’ sleeping habits.
The Co-op Engineer will be involved in many aspects of the product development life cycle: writing test protocols, writing test software (python and C), software testing, verification testing on prototype hardware, and documentation. The candidate will participate in hardware and software design reviews and have the opportunity to get further involved with the hardware and software development team. The candidate will be mentored by a senior engineer. Experience in microprocessors, embedded operating systems, wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, and data acquisition is desirable.

Essential Functions:
Key responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:
  • Writing Test Software in Python for testing a complex hardware electronic system using off-the-shelf test equipment such as DMMs and oscilloscopes.
  • Writing Software functions in a well-documented, modular style with debug capability and proper error handling.
  • Participate in the development of system architecture and detailed electrical design.
  • Documentation of Software requirements and architecture, block diagramming of code.
  • Troubleshooting with logic analyzers, oscilloscopes, microprocessor debuggers, communication protocol analyzers, with guidance from a senior engineer
  • Building and testing prototype hardware and test fixtures.
  • Collaborate effectively with other engineers to assist in prototype production and testing efforts.


Education and Skills
  • Working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical/Software Engineering or Computer Science.
  • Experience should include use of Python, BASH, or similar interpreted language.
  • Experience or course work with C programming language.
  • Desire to learn FDA product/testing requirements Involvement with medical device regulatory standards.
  • Some experience in electrical circuit troubleshooting using test equipment such as oscilloscopes and DMMs.
  • Excellent IT/computer skills and a willingness to learn new tools as they become relevant.
  • Good organizational and multi-tasking skills as well as strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Flexibility and ability to self-start on new challenges, problem-solving.
  • Strong analytical skills and willingness to develop understanding of relevant concepts in medicine and mechanical, electrical, and materials engineering.


Faculty Recruitment Fall 2021, University of Florida
PDF

Open Post-Doctoral Position at Case Western Reserve University
We are looking for a post-doctoral trainee interested in helping us develop neuroprostheses to improve seated posture and balance after paralysis. The opportunity would provide exposure to musculoskeletal modeling and the biomechanics of the spine, pelvis and lower extremities, dynamic simulations and optimization, and experimental implementation of new neural stimulation control systems in volunteers with physical disabilities.
PDF

Movement restoration in paralyzed patients

PBS News Hour Video link

CWRU Think Big award winner: Integrate Humanity and Technology
Advancing the Symbiotic Integration of Humans and Technology: Team Award
Team Members: Dustin Tyler, Emily Graczyk, Michael Fu, Luis Mesias Flores, Xufei Wang and Leah Roldan

First International Conference on Phantom Limb Pain from Aug. 31 - Jul. 2, 2021

It will be a hybrid event so people can join in person or virtually.
Podcast on Bionics and Pain ( https://redcircle.com/shows/conversations-on-bionics-and-pain ).
More Details

Post Doc and Faculty positions in Neural Engineering available in a new research center on Bionics and Pain in Sweden.

More Details
Please contact Max Jair Ortiz Catalan maxo@chalmers.se

FES Center investigator search

The Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center, a Department of Veteran's Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development National Research Center, is seeking new investigators to develop independent research programs in neurotechnology or neuromodulation with the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center, the nation's leading research group in neurotechnology. More Details

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Richard T. Lauer. Dr. Richard T. Lauer passed away on February 22, 2021. Obituary

NeuroRealityTM: The Future of Telepresence
Check video

2020

Computational neuroscience course offered in Spring 2021 (MAT 478 / EBME 478)

Computer simulations and mathematical analysis of neurons and neural circuits, and the computational properties of nervous systems. Students are taught a range of models for neurons and neural circuits, and are asked to implement and explore the computational and dynamic properties of these models. The course introduces students to dynamical systems theory for the analysis of neurons and neural learning, models of brain systems, and their relationship to artificial and neural networks. Term project required. Students enrolled in MATH 478 will make arrangements with the instructor to attend additional lectures and complete additional assignments addressing mathematical topics related to the course. Recommended preparation: MATH 223 and MATH 224 or BIOL 300 and BIOL 306.
Offered as BIOL 378, COGS 378, MATH 378, BIOL 478, CSDS 478, EBME 478, ECSE 478, MATH 478 and NEUR 478.

Instructor: Peter Thomas (https://case.edu/math/thomas/)

2019

Dominique Durand named Distinguished University Professor

For his long-term commitment to teaching and mentoring students, and his signature work work in neural research and epilepsy, Dominique Durand, the E.L. Linsedth Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosciences and director of the Neural Engineering Center, will be honored as a Distinguished University Professor during Fall Convocation today (Aug. 28) at Severance Hall.

"Dominique Durand's contributions to scholarship, to his research community, to his students and to the university are truly remarkable," said Robert Kirsch, the Allen H. and Constance T. Ford Professor and chair of the biomedical engineering department. "His research is world-renowned, he has trained a large number of students who are now leaders in academia and industry, he is an accomplished teacher and he is a great citizen of the academic community."

Learn More

 

The journal of Neural Engineering impact factor gets a boost.

JNE impact factor (IF) is now 4.55 and is well placed in the field of journals with related scope (see table). JNE IF has grown steadily since it was founded in 2004 and it provides researchers with a top level journal to publish interdisciplinary research in Neural Engineering. See the scope of the journal at https://iopscience.iop.org/journal/1741-2552/page/about-the-journal

Congratulations, Jeffrey Capadona, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University

The Cleveland FES Center congratulates Jeffrey Capadona, PhD on being promoted to Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Capadona is an investigator at the Cleveland FES Center, APT Center, and Research Health Scientist at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center. His lab is studying various aspects of microelectrode performance, and pursuing both materials-based and therapeutic-mediated methods to mitigate the inflammatory-mediated microelectrode failure mechanisms.

Case Western Reserve researchers discover new technique to prevent seizures. More

Rajat Shivaracharan wins the CWRU school of medicine doctoral excellence award with his thesis entitled:
"Self-Propagating, Non-Synaptic Hippocampal Waves Recruit Neurons by Electric Field Coupling"
Advisor: DM Durand

Nicholas Couturier win the 2019 Basic Science Epilepsia award for this paper entitled:
"Corpus callosum low-frequency stimulation suppresses seizures in an acute rat model of focal cortical seizures"

He will be flying to Bangkok Thailand, all expenses paid, to present his work at the International League against epilepsy conference.
Advisor: DM Durand

2018

Congratulations Bolu Ajiboye, PhD and Robert Kirsch, PhD
First Place - 2018 International Annual BCI-Research Award

The Cleveland FES Center congratulates Bolu Ajiboye, PhD and Robert Kirsch, PhD on receiving first place for the 2018 International Annual Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Research Award, for their project entitled "Restoring Functional Reach-to-Grasp in a Person with Chronic Tetraplegia using Implanted Functional Electrical Stimulation and Intracortical Brain-Computer Interfaces."

The Brain Computer Interface Award is one of the highest achievements in BCI research. It is an annual award organized by the BCI Foundation recognizing outstanding and innovative research in the field of Brain-Computer Interfaces.

Neural Engineering Center professors featured in a Nature review article on the future of Medicine

Bolu Ajiboye is in the news!


Seminars

2022

NEC seminar, Friday, September 30
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Zoom Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Vlad Marcu
Research Advisor: Dr. Dustin Tyler
Title: Algorithmic Optimization of Peripheral Nerve Electrodes

Abstract: Stimulating electrodes for use in the peripheral nervous system have changed significantly since the initial designs in the 1970s. One property of peripheral nerve electrodes that has been steadily improving over the years is the stimulation selectivity of the interfaces. By selectivity, I mean the ability of the electrodes to activate particular populations of axons within a peripheral nerve without activating other off-target populations of axons. Much of the improvements in interface selectivity up to today has occurred by designing new nerve cuffs with more contacts, contacts in deeper tissues in nerves, or by bringing fascicles closer to electrical interfaces. I propose an attempt to increase selectivity using simultaneous multi-contact stimulation to elicit selective activation of axons. I will be developing an algorithm for finding optimal sets of simultaneous contacts to activate in any arbitrary electrode to maximize selectivity. Assuming that such an algorithm identifies selective electrode combinations, I then propose a method of starting with a high density electrode and using a reductive regression to identify the principles of what makes a selective electrode design. This is designed to make the electrode design process less arbitrary than it has been in the past.

CMU Neural Engineering Virtual Seminars, Tuesdays, September 27
2:00-3:00PM Via Zoom
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Speaker: Dr. Guosong Hong
Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Neurosciences, Stanford University
Seminar Title: Seeing the Sound: Optical and Ultrasonic Brain Interfaces Based on Materials Advances

Abstract: Today's optical neuromodulation and imaging methods enable causal manipulation of neural activity to dissect complex circuit connections underlying certain behaviors and facilitate brain-computer interfaces. In these approaches, visible light is commonly used, thus limiting penetration depth in vivo and necessitating an invasive procedure that damages the endogenous brain tissue and constrains the subject's free behavior. In this talk, I will present three recently developed methods to address these challenges based on novel material advances: sono-optogenetics, infrared optogenetics, and an intravascular light source. In sono-optogenetics, we demonstrate that mechanoluminescent materials can convert focused ultrasound into localized light emission for noninvasive optogenetic neuromodulation in live mice. In addition, inspired by the infrared sensitivity of rattlesnakes, we developed an approach to use brain-penetrant infrared light for tether-free and implant-free neuromodulation throughout the entire brain in freely behaving mice. Lastly, we leveraged a biomineral-inspired approach to synthesize nanoscopic phosphors as an intravascular light source. In contrast to conventional external light sources, this intravascular light source offers deeper tissue penetration for imaging the mouse brain through the uncleared skull. I will conclude my talk by presenting an outlook on how advances in materials science may facilitate our understanding of the mind.

About the Speaker: Dr. Guosong Hong received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University in 2014 and then carried out postdoctoral studies with at Harvard University. Dr. Hong joined Stanford Materials Science and Engineering and Neurosciences Institute as an assistant professor in September 2018. His research at Stanford aims to develop and apply novel optical and electronic materials for minimally invasive brain interfacing. He is a recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) Award, the MIT Technology Review '35 Innovators Under 35' Award, the Science PINS Prize for Neuromodulation, the NSF CAREER Award, the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Award.

NEC seminar, Friday, September 23
Via Zoom
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Speaker: A. Stewart Ferguson, PhD
Chief Information Officer (CIO) Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

MOVING HEALTH DATA: Making Data More Portable Than Patients.

The Alaska Tribal Health System (ATHS), composed of 30 autonomous Tribal Health Organizations, provides care to 170,000 Alaska Natives at more than 200 sites throughout Alaska. This is an especially challenging and complex system of care given the extreme geography, isolated communities, and socioeconomic characteristics unique to Alaska. Only 25% of communities in Alaska are located on the road system, leaving off-road vehicles such as ATVs, snow machines, boats, and small planes as the primary means of travel in the remaining 75% of remote communities. The average rural resident in Alaska travels 147 miles to see a nurse or doctor.
Twenty-five years ago, this system relied on dialup connectivity, paper records, phones and faxes to coordinate patient care. Emerging technologies (including telehealth and EHRs) have enabled the ATHS to shift to a robust system of care that, in many cases, provides a standard of care not achievable in other health care systems. Rapid expansion of communications have led to a world-class telehealth system, shared health records, and coordination of care over a land mass covering approximately one-fifth that of the entire 48 contiguous US states
The presentation will include some of the key designs, engineering principles, and studies that led to improvements in health care over the past 25 years.

FUN TOPIC

Thirty-eight years ago, a group of graduate students at the Applied Neural Control Laboratory at CWRU began a journey that continues to this day. Despite the many mistakes, unplanned adventures, multiple rescues, and occasional hospital visits, this group continues to share their passion for climbing with each other and the next generation of climbers. This will be a light hearted romp through history, with the occasional lesson learned but mostly the mistakes that made it fun.

BIO

Stewart Ferguson is the CIO for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) located in Anchorage Alaska. Dr. Ferguson has primary responsibility for Health IT operations for the Alaska Native Medical Center, and for the expansion of a single patient record EHR throughout the Alaska Tribal Health System. He was also responsible for the design and development of the AFHCAN telehealth program. Dr. Ferguson currently serves as the tribal-chair and representative for the Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee on the IHS Information Systems Advisory Committee (ISAC). Dr. Ferguson is a past President of the American Telemedicine Association, founded the National Telehealth Technology Assessment Center, and is a founding member and past-Chairman of the Board for the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center providing support to telehealth systems in 8 states and the Pacific Islands. Dr. Ferguson served on the Alaska Governor's Broadband Task Force, the National Quality Forum's Telehealth Measures Committee, Cerner's CIO Council, and the Board of the Alaska eHealth Exchange. Dr. Ferguson has over thirty years of progressive computer and research experience in academic, industrial, biomedical and business environments. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees both in Biomedical Engineering, and B.S. degrees in both Mathematics and Electrical Engineering.

Neurosciences Seminar, Thursday, September 22 [PDF]
Address: Robbins Bldg. E301 and Via Zoom
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Passcode: 921126
Speaker: Martha W. Bagnall, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Host: Dr. Britton Sauerbrei
Title: Spinal circuits governing locomotion

Abstract: Locomotion relies on alternating activity between muscle groups. This alternation, between left and right sides or between flexors and extensors, is enforced by reciprocal inhibition. In the mouse spinal cord, two genetically identified classes of ipsilaterally-projecting interneurons, the V1 (En1+) and V2b (Gata3+) classes, have been shown to provide asymmetric inhibition onto flexor and extensor motor neurons. Interestingly, these neuron classes are present in fish, as well as throughout the spinal cord of limbed vertebrates, suggesting that they may play a more ancient role in locomotor control. We investigated the connectivity of V1 and V2b neurons along the longitudinal axis of the spinal cord in larval zebrafish to examine whether their positions within the spinal network could explain these disparate observations. We demonstrate that V1 neurons project long ascending axons, but only inhibit motor and premotor targets locally, switching to inhibiting sensory neurons at long range. V2b neurons, in contrast, project long descending axons that inhibit motor targets both locally and long-range. Furthermore, we demonstrate for the first time that V2b and V1 neurons reciprocally inhibit each other in a longitudinally organized fashion. V2b neurons, like V1 neurons, are active in phase with local motor activity. Through computational modeling, we show that V1-mediated inhibition is necessary for the precisely timed termination of motor neuron bursts. This rostrocaudally asymmetric, reciprocally inhibitory connectivity in axial circuits may thus provide a ground plan for evolution of rostrocaudally asymmetric limb networks. In addition, I will discuss recently published work on the organization of vestibular sensory circuits, showing for the first time a topography of the vestibular afferent ganglion.

Visit Dr. Bagnall's Website

In-person in Robbins Bldg. E301* AND via Zoom All are welcome to attend*.
Zoom Link
Meeting ID:960 3609 7117
Passcode:921126
The Zoom link will become active 15 minutes prior to the event. You must be signed in to a Zoom account to access the event. You can sign in via cwru.zoom.us or create a free Zoom account at Zoom.us Always use the most up-to-date version of Zoom.

This event will not be recorded.

In-person in SOM, Robbins Bldg., room E301* *Individuals attending Case Western Reserve events are expected to be fully vaccinated, including booster if eligible. The university strongly encourages the use of high-quality, well-fitting face masks to reduce transmission risk in crowded settings, or for individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. University leaders continue to monitor pandemic developments and will adjust health protocols as circumstances warrant.

View the current university policies regarding COVID-19.



Upcoming Neurosciences Seminars
Thursday, September 29, 12 pm (EDT),
In-person in Robbins Bldg. E301* AND via Zoom
Karl Herrup, PhD
Professor, Neurobiology University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA

"Alzheimer's disease 2022 - data and diatribes"

Thursday, October 6, 12 pm (EDT),
In-person in Robbins Bldg. E301* AND via Zoom
Fen-Biao Gao, PhD
Professor of Neurology; Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, Worcester, MA

"Insights into Frontotemporal Dementia and ALS from Drosophila and iPSC-Derived Patient Neurons"

Frontiers in Biological Sciences Lecture
Wednesday, October 12, 4 pm (EDT),

In-person in Robbins Bldg. E501* AND via Zoom
Roger Nicoll, MD
Professor, Cellular Molecular Pharmacology University of California, San Francisco

"A molecular machine for synaptic memory"

Thursday, October 13, 12 pm (EDT),
In-person in Robbins Bldg. E301* AND via Zoom
Mark Cembrowski, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia

"Cell-type-specific underpinnings of hippocampus-dependent memory"

Friday, October 14, 11 am (EDT),
In-person in Robbins Bldg. E301* AND via Zoom
Martha Bhattacharya, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

"Connecting the (Cellular) Dots: Roles of TMEM184B in Synaptic Function and Neuronal Resilience"

Thursday, October 20, 12 pm (EDT),
In-person in Robbins Bldg. E301* AND via Zoom
Jeffrey Savas, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

"Harmonizing axon terminal dynamics to prevent amyloid pathology in Alzheimer's disease"

Thursday, October 27, 12 pm (EDT),
In-person in Robbins Bldg. E301* AND via Zoom
Rosalind Segal, MD, PhD
Dean for Graduate Education, Professor of Neurobiology; Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

"Cancer, Chemotherapy and Nerves"

See the full schedule of Neurosciences Seminars and Events on our website.

Questions- Neurosciences@case.edu


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NEC Seminar, Friday, September 16
Via Zoom
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Speaker:Ti'Air Riggins, Ph.D.
Research Advisor:Prof. Capadona
Title:Neurotechnology Design Features' Impact on the Identity and Function of Reactive Astrocyte Models

Abstract: Implantable neurotechnology such as microelectrode arrays offers substantial promise to improve the condition of many neurogenerative diseases. However, shortly after implantation, foreign body response occurs, which is what researchers believe decreases stability and longevity of these devices. Established biomarkers such as glial acid fibrillary protein and astrogliosis and stimuli such as mechanical mismatch are studied to assess the state of response to the devices, however immune response in the brain is not well understood. Astrocytes play an important role in the brai's immune system and recently, transcriptome analysis has confirmed calcium channel activity of reactive astrocytes to be a potential biomarker in many neurodegenerative diseases. During my thesis work, I have investigated the correlation between astroglial reactivity and device features, however, RNAseq results have revealed that earlier biomarkers expressed in other cell types such as microglia and oligodendrocytes also contribute to cell signaling in these neurodegenerative pathways. Often, calcium channel expression in astrocytes have historically been investigated in this field because reactive astrocytes are the last actor on the scene before microelectrode arrays completely fail, suggesting the possibility of targeting biomarkers that are expressed in pathways earlier. As result, researchers investigating implantable probes must become more knowledgeable about brain foreign body reaction. A way to mitigate that would be to investigate a more physiological relevant model. During my predoctoral work, I developed a 2D culture model inspired by the inflammatory reactive astrocytic cellular response at the electrode-tissue interface. For my postdoctoral work, I will develop a hPSC-based ex vivo 3D culture model and characterize these models using tissue co-culture methods and characterize these models by monitoring change in cytoarchitecture, metabolism and pathophysiological genetic expression. I will follow up about the work and impact of our 501 (c) (3) organization, Black In Neuro.

CMU Neural Engineering Virtual Seminars,Tuesday, September 13
2:00-3:00PM Via Zoom
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Speaker: Dr. Marom Bikson
Professor of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York of CUNY
Seminar Title:Wearable non-invasive brain stimulation as a tool to boost brain vascular function and clearance mechanisms"

Abstract: The development and validation of technology to apply energy non-invasively to the brain to treat disease and enhance learning is accelerating. This broad spectrum of research and development naturally focuses on how applied energy changes neuronal function, which in turn changes behavior and performance. For example transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) generates static electric fields in the brain that boost neuronal plasticity. This talk presents an alternative mechanistic pathway for brain stimulation (Neuromodulation) technologies: namely that applied energy directly changes brain vascular function and clearance mechanisms, leading to secondary neuronal function changes. This "Neurovascular-Modulation" hypothesis is compelling as it suggests unique therapeutic pathways for a broad range of brain disorders, including age related cognitive decline.

About the Speaker: Dr. Marom Bikson is a Harold Shames Professor of Biomedical Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY) of the City University of New York (CUNY). The translational R&D activity of his group spans pre-clinical studies, computational models, device design and fabrication, regulatory activities, and clinical trials. Technologies developed by his group are in clinical trials in over 350 medical centers. Dr. Bikson has published over 300 papers and book-chapters and is inventor on over 30 patent applications. He is known for his work on brain targeting with electrical stimulation, cellular physiology of electric effects, and electrical safety. Dr. Bikson co-invented High-Definition transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (HD-tDCS). Prior to becoming faculty at CUNY, Dr. Bikson was a research fellow at the University of Birmingham Medical School, UK. He received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland OH, and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD.

NEC Seminar, Friday, September 9
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Speaker:Gabrielle Labrozzi
Research Advisor:Prof. Triolo
Title:Center of Mass Estimation for Gait Control and a Baseline Gait Analysis After SCI

Abstract:For over a decade, individuals after a spinal cord injury (SCI) have identified restoration of walking as a top priority. Current approaches use feedforward systems to apply functional neuromuscular stimulation to lower extremity muscles to automate stepping. However, these neural stimulation paradigms result in discontinuous, variable, and asymmetrical gait patterns. To achieve more nominal gait patterns after SCI requires a feedback controller that tracks and corrects for errors in a control parameter. The center of mass (CoM) is a kinematic parameter that follows well-defined trajectories during nominal gait and is highly associated with stability. Thus, to stabilize post-SCI gait, we developed and trained a Long Short-Term Memory neural network to estimate each dimension of the CoM profile from inertial measurement units (IMUs). Five healthy subjects participated in a single session of various dynamic walking trials with body-mounted sensors. A neural network was trained with 100 neurons in a single hidden layer using the data collected. After fine-tuning the network parameters and achieving accurate estimations of COM kinematics, we explored how the number and location of the IMUs affected the neural network's accuracy. From this exploration we plan to select a neural network for our feedback model. In addition, we conducted quantitative gait analyses on current feedforward stimulation systems to assess and quantify their performance. We compared gait variability and symmetry metrics from 2 individuals with SCI and the 5 able-bodied participants under the various walking conditions. In this presentation, I will address the results from training the neural networks and the baseline gait analyses. These results provide the framework for our feedback controller for normalizing gait patterns post-SCI.

NEC Seminar, Friday, September 2
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Speaker: Jessica Block
Research Advisor:Prof.Moffitt
Title: Investigating selective stimulation of STN neural elements through polarity of stimulation

Abstract:Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in the STN is a proven therapy for treating refractory Parkinson's Disease patients. Since the FDA approval of this therapy in 2002, there has been little exploration in one of the stimulation parameters that most affects which neural elements are modulated by stimulation-stimulus polarity. Further understanding of stimulus polarity would allow for better therapy optimization and DBS therapy expansion to other neurological disorders. Initially, neurostimulation pioneer James Ranck described the effect of polarity - cathodic stimulation generally first engages axons of passage whereas anodic stimulation preferentially engages local cells with axons projecting away from the electrode. Theoretical work in intraspinal microstimulation and cortical stimulation supports Ranck's assertions. Recently, a small-scale clinical study demonstrated that monopolar anodic stimulation improved symptom relief of patients with Parkinson's Disease beyond monopolar cathodic stimulation. This talk will describe a two-pulse technique that leverages the absolute refractory period to isolate field potential responses from neural elements selectively excitable by a single polarity (anodic or catholic) and propose computational methods to identify optimal parameters to measure polarity-specific responses.

BME SEMINAR SERIES, Thursday, September 1 [PDF]
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Wickenden Room 321
SPATIAL BIOLOGY AT ANY SCALE WITH GeoMx and CosMx
Hosted by: Jeffrey Capadona, PhD

Jerid Robinson, PhD.
Manager, Field Application Scientists NA-West
NanoString Technologies

About Dr. Anderson: Jerid Robinson, PhD - Manager, Field Application Scientists, NA-West
B.S. - Berry College, Biochemistry
Ph.D. - University of Minnesota, Pharmacology
Post-doc - Emory University, Immunology
I strive daily to provide value to customers using the NanoString platforms. My team and I accomplish this by giving webinars, guiding experimental protocol development, assisting with post-run data analysis, and providing follow-up discussions. I want to help you obtain quality, actionable data using our platforms!

Abstract: Discover the possibilities of spatial biology. The following will be covered throughout the seminar:
1      High-level overview of CosMx SMI and GeoMx DSP platform highlighting key technology features
2      Case studies across multiple applications and areas of interest
3      Best practices regarding experiment design

Attendance is required for students enrolled in EBME 611 Fall Semester. If you are enrolled in this course, please sign the Attendance Sheet that will be located in the back of the room (Wickenden 321).

MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation Research Meeting, Wednesday, August 31
9:00 AM
Speaker:Dr Victor Duenas
Presenter: Victor Duenas PhD
Topic: Closed-loop switching control for powered lower-limb exoskeletons and neuromuscular electrical stimulation

Up-Coming Meetings:
Sep 7        MH Internal Meeting
Sep 14      No Meeting
Sep 21      MH Internal Meeting
Sep 28      TBA

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation Research
Time: Aug 31, 2022 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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149.137.24.110 (Japan Osaka)
Meeting ID:924 075 9689
Passcode:548653
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NEC Seminar, Friday, August 26
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Speaker: Karina Dsouza
Research Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: The Effect of Prosthesis-Wear on EMG Activity and Controller Performance

Abstract:3 million people world-wide have an upper-limb amputation, however 23% of myo-prosthesis users reject their device due to lack of function. Users who do not reject their prostheses tend to rely on compensatory motions, which may lead to overuse injury and chronic pain. Control literature has not yet investigated the effect of wearing a prosthesis on EMG activity, and consequently, on controller performance. Many myo-prosthesis controllers are only tested in virtual environments. If wearing a prosthesis changes EMG activity significantly, a controller that is only tested in a virtual environment may perform worse in real environments. This presentation compares preliminary data of loaded EMG (recorded while the prosthesis is worn and lifted) and unloaded EMG (recorded while the residual limb is bare). This presentation also compares preliminary, virtual performance results from an ANN (trained with unloaded EMG) during loaded and unloaded testing conditions.

Neural Engineering series, Tuesday, September 13
2:00-3:00 PM Via Zoom
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Passcode: 989260
Title:Wearable non-invasive brain stimulation as a tool to boost brain vascular function and clearance mechanisms
Dr. Marom Bikson
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
The City College of New York of CUNY

NEC Seminar, Friday, August 12
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Speaker: Preethi Bhat
Research Advisor: Dr. Graczyk
Title: Representation of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation-Evoked Neural Activity in the Somatosensory Cortex

Abstract: Tactile sensation is important for hand function because it helps with object manipulation and interpersonal connection. One promising avenue for supplying sensation to individuals with somatosensory deficits is peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS). We do not currently understand how PNS is processed in the brain, yet this critical information could help researchers design optimal PNS paradigms. The purpose of the study was to examine the psychophysical and cortical response to PNS in a human subject with sensory-incomplete tetraplegia. PNS was delivered through electrode contacts of Composite Flat-Interface Nerve Electrodes (C-FINEs) implanted around the median and ulnar nerve. The cortical response was measured via two 64-channel intracortical microelectrode arrays placed in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). The pulse width (PW) of the PNS was varied over a large dynamic range including 3 subthreshold and 6 suprathreshold values. We collected the perceived location and intensity of all sensory percepts evoked by PNS. We also calculated firing rate (FR) from multi-unit activity recorded from individual electrodes in the intracortical arrays. The participant reported sensation on the index and ring finger from PNS delivered to the median and ulnar nerve, respectively. The normalized perceived intensity increased linearly as the suprathreshold PW increased (R2=.64). Individual S1 array channels demonstrated that the FR during the onset of stimuli was significantly greater than baseline activity (two sample t-test, p<0.05). Studying the cortical representation of PNS can inform the design of PNS paradigms that will be more functional for sensory applications, such as touch restoration for individuals with spinal cord injury, limb loss, or stroke.

NEC Seminar, Friday, August 5
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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There are two presentations this week.
Speaker: Sandra Hnat, D. Engr.
Title: Balance Control Strategies for a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis
Abstract:We developed an algorithm to estimate center-of-mass to be used as feedback for a self-balancing controller for powered exoskeletons. These devices aim to restore mobility for individuals with lower-limb paralysis, but commercial exoskeletons are unable to self-balance, which forces users to exert more upper extremity effort to stay upright. Our team has developed a hybrid neuroprosthesis that combines electrical stimulation to activate the user's muscles while electric motors at the hip, knee, and ankle assist as needed to complete the movements. This talk will summarize our ongoing work in developing a balance controller for our hybrid neuroprosthesis and our plans to expand upon this concept for fall prevention and mitigation.

Speaker: Nathan Makowski, PhD
Title: Developing assistive devices to restore mobility and independence after stroke
Abstract:Poststroke gait impairments limit mobility and independence. Assistive devices that improve safety and walking speed and endurance could enhance quality of life and reduce secondary health effects. Electrical stimulation activating muscles crossing the hip, knee, and ankle in coordination with volitional movement may be an effective mechanism for restoring function. This talk will describe ongoing and upcoming projects developing and evaluating implanted and non-invasive assistive devices to restore function after stroke.

NEC Seminar, Friday, July 29
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Youjoung Kim
Research Advisor: Jeffrey Capadona and Allison Hess-Dunning
Title: Design Optimization for Implanted Mechanically Compliant Microfluidic Probes

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes (IME) have the ability to greatly improve patient quality of life. However, the devices tend to fail over time due to a combination of mechanical, material, and biological failure. Material and biological failure are linked by neuroinflammation, which may result in material degradation and neuronal death. Neuroinflammation may be exacerbated by micromotion due to the differential strain between soft tissue and stiff electrode substrate material. Additionally, reactive oxygen species contribute to a vicious cycle of increased oxidation and inflammation. Our project aims to mitigate both exacerbating factors by utilizing a mechanically adaptive polymer (cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) in polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) matrix) material integrated with a microfluidic channel to deliver an antioxidant, resveratrol. Previous studies done in the lab have shown decreased inflammatory response due to soft materials and antioxidants separately. In this pilot study, we combined the two approaches. This pilot study aims to serve as a proof of concept and determine what design of probe should be implemented in a full study. The results show that the probes are able to continuously deliver resveratrol throughout the timepoint in the study. We have also been able to identify the specific probe design for a future full study.

NEC Seminar, Friday, July 22
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Speaker: George Hoeferlin
Research Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Capadona
Title: Revealing the Role of Gut Microbiota on Intracortical Microelectrode Performance

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes (IME) have the ability to record neuron action potentials in the brain and pair with external systems to provide motor function rehabilitation to those with disabilities. Unfortunately, IMEs consistently decline in recording quality over the course of weeks to months, leading to a loss in rehabilitative function. Current research focuses on targeting neuroinflammation and oxidative stress to combat electrode failure with moderate success. However, a new avenue of evidence suggests that the gut microbiome plays a larger role in neural health than previously known, which may provide a novel approach for improving neural recording quality. In the ongoing study, mice received either antibiotics or probiotics over 12 weeks to alter microbiome composition in combination with functional and dummy IMEs implanted in the motor cortex of the brain. Pilot data shows a noticeable change in both gut and brain bacteria composition after IME implantation alone, with further microbiome changes occurring as a result of probiotic or antibiotic diets. The percentage of active electrodes (AEY) in acute time points (<6 weeks) show that antibiotic (79% AEY) and probiotic (74% AEY) mice have significantly higher AEY for recording quality than control (69% AEY) mice with normal diets. Acute data suggests that microbiome alteration influences recording quality and possibly neural health in general. Sub-chronic (6-11 weeks) and chronic (>11 weeks) recordings are ongoing with transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and bacterial culture following to robustly evaluate the role of gut microbiome on electrophysiological recordings.

NEC seminar, Friday July 8
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Research Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Capadona and Dr. Allison Hess-Dunning
Title: Mechanically-adaptive, antioxidant-eluting neural probes to mitigate intracortical microelectrode failure

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes are used in brain-computer interface systems to restore function in spinal cord injury, limb loss, and neurodegenerative disorders. Unfortunately, they often fail within months after implantation, leading to overall diminished therapeutic efficacy through reduced recording performance and increased stimulation thresholds. We have developed a mechanically-adaptive, resveratrol-loaded neural probe with the goal of improving intracortical microelectrode integration by reducing the neuroinflammatory response. This device utilizes local antioxidant delivery and a mechanically-adaptive material to target the mechanical mismatch and oxidative stress failure pathways. Previous work indicated that the neural probe showed improved neuron density and decreased microglia activation compared to traditional silicon probes. Currently, we are incorporating recording electrodes on the substrate to make these devices functional. However, we need to evaluate the effects of UV light and heat exposure from the recording electrode microfabrication process on the loaded antioxidant, resveratrol. Throughout release studies to determine resveratrol presence and activity, we have discovered possible material components leaching from the substrate, raising concerns about toxicity and inflammation. In this talk, I will discuss our resveratrol release methods, findings, and future work to successfully integrate recording electrodes while preserving the resveratrol integrity and reducing neuroinflammation.

NEC seminar, Friday June 24
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Brett Campbell
Research Advisor: Kenneth Baker, PhD
Title: Expanding deep brain stimulation parameter space through the use of asymmetric waveforms

Abstract: Parkinson's disease motor signs are increasingly addressed through deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN). No current DBS platform allows for modification of the stimulus waveform in optimizing therapeutic delivery despite modeling studies indicating that varying stimulus pulse geometries may provide improved selectivity of neural elements at the site of stimulation [1]. The ability to preferentially modulate axonal fibers of passage versus cell bodies may provide an increase in the therapeutic window of stimulation, which could improve treatment for patients who become non-responsive over time or with low side effect thresholds. To date, limited work has been done on the physiological effects of alternative waveform geometries, with most focusing on stimulus parameters such as amplitude and pulse width. This study investigated how the configuration of charge-balanced, asymmetric and symmetric biphasic pulse shapes influenced the pattern and threshold for cortical and myogenic evoked responses. DBS leads implanted in the STN of patients with Parkinson's disease were externalized for up to nine days to allow for delivery of a series of asymmetric, charge-balanced biphasic waveforms. Remaining non-stimulation channels allowed for local field potential recordings in the STN alongside cortical EEG and EMG. Evoked potentials were elicited using specific configurations of anodic and cathodic asymmetric stimulation polarities delivered in monopolar configuration and quantified for comparison against symmetric biphasic waveforms. Quantification was done through changes in peak components and with wavelets to extract the evoked frequency content with respect to time across varying amplitudes of stimulation. Results show that cathodic oriented asymmetric waveforms show lower thresholds for the presence of an EMG response compared to both anodic oriented and symmetric biphasic pulses. Asymmetric, anodic-oriented stimulation resulted in an attenuation or absence of short-latency components in the cortical response, consistent with probable antidromic STN hyper-direct pathway activation around 2ms post stimulation that was observed during stimulation with other waveform geometries [2]. Evoked responses were prominent in the beta-frequency range with significant changes in the wavelet amplitude observed in response to stimulus amplitude and pulse geometry. These results suggest that cathodic as well as anodic asymmetric waveforms may have differential activation effects on neural elements in the STN region, possibly through the proposed exploitation of non-linear conductance properties of neural elements compared to symmetric biphasic waveforms [1]. The differences in short-latency components, which may be reflective of antidromic activation of the STN hyper-direct pathway may help to predict therapeutic efficacy as well as side effects [3]. These findings help support modeling driven hypothesis that customizing pulse waveform geometry can selectively modulate neural elements in the region of the STN and ultimately be an important additional parameter for consideration to further optimize therapeutic stimulation.

[1] McIntyre CC, Grill WM. Selective microstimulation of central nervous system neurons. Ann Biomed Eng. 2000 Mar;28(3):219-33. doi: 10.1114/1.262. PMID: 10784087.

[2] Miocinovic S, de Hemptinne C, Chen W, Isbaine F, Willie JT, Ostrem JL, Starr PA. Cortical Potentials Evoked by Subthalamic Stimulation Demonstrate a Short Latency Hyperdirect Pathway in Humans. J Neurosci. 2018 Oct 24;38(43):9129-9141. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1327-18.2018. Epub 2018 Sep 10. PMID: 30201770; PMCID: PMC6199405.

[3] Irwin ZT, Awad MZ, Gonzalez CL, Nakhmani A, Bentley JN, Moore TA, Smithson KG, Guthrie BL, Walker HC. Latency of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation-evoked cortical activity as a potential biomarker for postoperative motor side effects. Clin Neurophysiol. 2020 Jun;131(6):1221-1229. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2020.02.021. Epub 2020 Mar 12. PMID: 32299006; PMCID: PMC7214089.rwin Walker biomarker for side effects.

Ford Distinguished Seminar: Tuesday June 21 [PDF]
4:00 PM
Hosted By: Dr. Robert Kirsch
Title: Say Yes to a Different Attitude to Help Advance Patient Care

Streaming Is Available for Remote Guests
The stream will be at case.edu/livestream/s1 during the time of the broadcast.
Hosted by Dr. Robert Kirsch, BME Chair


Abstract:
Say Yes to a Different Attitude to Help Advance Patient Care
Geoffrey Ling MD, PhD

Saying "yes" is a statement and attitude. Saying "yes" obligates one to do something. When solving problems, one has to begin by saying "yes." This discussion is about taking this attitude and applying it to advancing in medical diagnosis, prevention, and treatment, particularly in military far forward and austere environments. The motivation to improve patient care reflects the honor and bravery of our service members. Several advancements developed out of battlefield needs will be discussed along with finding ways to "say yes" to improve outcomes for all patients.

About Dr. Ling: Dr. Geoffrey Ling is the CEO and co-founder of On Demand Pharmaceuticals, and a Professor of Neurology and Attending Neuro-Critical Care Physician at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and Professor Emeritus at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Dr. Ling served 21 years of active duty in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He deployed multiple times as a critical care physician before retiring as a Colonel. Dr. Ling was the founding Director of the Biological Technologies Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and an Assistant Director of Science in President Obama's White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Dr. Ling earned his BA from Washington University in St Louis, PhD in Pharmacology at Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and his MD at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is board certified in both neurology and neuro critical care. He has published over 200 peer reviewed papers, book chapters and review articles.

NEC seminar, Friday June 17
9:00 AM via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Suzhou Li
Research Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: Characterizing effects of electrically elicited sensations on spinal reflex pathways

Abstract: Introduction: Individuals with lower limb loss are at higher risk of falling compared to able-bodied individuals. Plantar sensation plays an important role in maintaining smooth and stable gait, as evidenced by its modulation of reflex pathways. The H-reflex has been utilized as an outcome measure for evaluating the contribution of peripheral inputs in modulating neural reflex pathways [1]. C-FINEs were implanted around the sciatic and tibial nerves of an individual with transtibial amputation. Our team has demonstrated that delivering electrical stimulation via C-FINEs elicits sensations originating from the individual's missing limb [2]. However, it is yet unknown whether these electrically elicited plantar sensations (EPS) can modulate reflex pathways in the same way as plantar sensation from an intact foot. Methods: The participant adopted different postures by loading their prosthesis to 70% or 30% of their body weight (BW), while standing with their prosthetic in front of their intact limb. They received visual feedback to maintain the target posture. In each condition, a single pulse stimulus was delivered through a C-FINE contact (amplitudes between 1.2-2.6-mA) to evoke the H-reflex in the MG muscle. EMG was conducted using wearable sensors (Delsys Trigno). The experiment was repeated with and without EPS prior to the single pulse stimulus. M and H-waves were identified between 2-10-ms and 30-50-ms, respectively, after onset of the stimulus. PCA was applied to the EMG data in the specified H-wave window to identify the primary H-wave for further analysis to avoid non-reflex responses. H-wave occurrence was defined as the percentage of trials during which the primary H-wave appeared. Results: H-wave occurrence consistently decreased over all stimulus levels when EPS was provided during 30% BW loading, with the maximum effect being a 33% decrease at stimulus amplitude of 1.8-mA. However, during 70% BW loading, the effect of EPS on H-wave occurrence varied over stimulus levels. When EPS was provided, H-wave occurrence increased at stimulus amplitudes between 1.6-1.8-mA, and decreased between 1.9-2.1-mA. Conclusion: These findings suggest the effect of EPS on the H-reflex depends on afferent inputs from the residual limb. This shows that EPS is integrated with residual sensory inputs in reflex pathways, which agrees with how plantar sensation contributes to modulating the H-reflex in able-bodied individuals. This study reveals one of the mechanisms by which EPS may contribute to maintaining stability. References: 1. Misiaszek, J. E. (2003). Muscle & Nerve, 28(2), 144-160. 2. Charkhkar, H., et al. (2018). JNE, 15(5), 056002.

NEC seminar, Friday June 10
9:00 AM via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Presenter: Sedona Cady
PI: Prof. Dustin Tyler
Title: First Implementation of DARPA's Fully Implanted, BluetoothLE-Connected Bidirectional Neuroprosthetic System

Abstract: Peripheral nerve stimulation using extraneural cuffs can reliably restore tactile sensation to individuals with limb loss. Our lab has worked with five upper extremity amputee study participants across ten years who have been implanted with a percutaneous stimulation system. However, limitations to the percutaneous system include the high wire count within the body, the need for an external stimulator, and the inconvenience of maintaining the percutaneous leads. To address these issues, our team developed the Implanted Somatosensory Electrical Neurostimulation and Sensing (iSens) system. One study participant's percutaneous system was explanted, and he was implanted with the new iSens system. In this study, we compare the stability of sensory locations, threshold charge values, and tissue impedances during the first six months post-operation. Stimulating through both systems provided unique percept locations along the hand, forearm, and upper arm. Threshold charge values for single-contact stimulation remained stable across six months for the iSens system, consistent with results from the participant's percutaneous system. Tissue impedances from the iSens system, however, exceeded impedances calculated with the percutaneous system. Results from this work suggest that the iSens system provides stable sensory percepts for at-home use with a prosthesis.

NEC Seminar,
Friday, June 3
9:00 PM via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Bhanu Kotamraju
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Chronic selective recording in small fascicles with carbon nanotube yarns in rats

Abstract: The primary challenge in the field of neural rehabilitation engineering is the limitation in the technology to match the complexity of the neural tissue which does not allow for selective recordings from multiple fascicles from different nerves. The ability to chronically and safely record from multiple fascicles of different nerves simultaneously could have significant implications for the field of neural and rehabilitation engineering. Previous studies have shown Carbon Nanotube Yarns (CNTYs) to be capable of recording from autonomic nerves of small diameter (100-300µm) making them a viable candidate for this study. Furthermore, in a preliminary case study, a peripheral neural interface using CNTY recording from a total of three different fascicles one from the ulnar nerve and two in the radial nerve in the forelimb of a mini pig was presented, and for the first time, we recorded simultaneously from the three different fascicles in multiple nerves acutely. In this study, the chronic recording capabilities of CNTY's are presented. The electrodes were implanted in the three individual fascicles of the sciatic nerve of rats and their neural activity during gait was recorded. The data are analyzed using information theory showing the superior recording capabilities of the electrodes when compared to the cuff electrode. The stability of the recordings from the electrodes is demonstrated. Selectivity of the signals from these electrodes was also explored using information theory metrics.

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Seminar, Tuesday, May 31
3:00 PM Via Zoom
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Passcode: 884843
Speaker: Jessica de Abreu, Ph.D. Candidate Case Western Reserve University Department of Biomedical Engineering Cleveland, OH
Thesis Advisor: Robert Kirsch, PhD
Title: Reinforcement Learning Control of Upper-Limb Models Actuated by Chronically Paralyzed Muscles

Abstract: Every year, more than 130,000 people worldwide develop paralysis after surviving a spinal cord injury. More than half of these individuals develop tetraplegia, a severely debilitating condition where all four limbs are paralyzed. By eliciting contractions in paralyzed muscles, functional electrical stimulation (FES) can restore some motor function to people with paralysis caused by SCIs. Recently, deep neural networks (DNNs) trained with reinforcement learning (RL) have been explored as a promising methodology to control upper-limb FES systems. By emulating natural learning, RL may prevent labor-intensive manual adjustments of controller parameters. However, previous studies did not consider RL control of musculoskeletal systems with highly fatigable and atrophied muscles, such as those observed in people with chronic paralysis. Here, we investigate RL control of chronically paralyzed muscles using a musculoskeletal model of the arm that incorporates a realistic compartment model of fatigue. We characterize the impact of key biomechanical properties on RL controller performance, and we implement algorithms that improve the exploration efficiency, decrease the training times, and decrease the muscle activations of upper-limb RL controllers. The results of the present study support the feasibility of using RL control to restore upper-limb motor function to people with SCIs, and we hope that these results will inform the design of effective FES controllers that can be more easily translated into clinical practice.

NEC Seminar, Friday, May 27
9:00 AM via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Speaker: John Krall
Advisor: Prof. Ajiboye
Title: FES+BMI: The Next Generation

Abstract: The ability to perform volitional movements can be returned to persons with chronic tetraplegia with the combination of a brain-machine interface (BMI) and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. The BMI interprets intended movements in real-time based on neural activity recorded from motor-related areas of the brain. Meanwhile, the FES system reanimates paralyzed limbs by stimulating muscles in the precise patterns needed to produce the intended movement. In 2017, a combined BMI+FES system was used by a participant in the BrainGate 2 clinical trial to perform tasks of daily living such as drinking from a mug and feeding himself. This talk will focus on the progress of the Reconnecting the Hand and Arm to the Brain (ReHAB) system, which is a next generation BMI+FES system that utilizes advanced neural interfaces in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. A main goal of the ReHAB system is to increase the dexterity of the returned movements, including individuated finger control. Standard decoding methods struggle with correctly interpreting multi-finger movements from recorded neural data. State-space analyses reveal covariance patterns in the neural population activity during finger movements that may be exploited to produce more accurate predictions.

Delivering NP Seminar, Thursday, May 12
3:00 PM via Zoom
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Presenter: Brian Litt, MD University of Pennsylvania.
Title: Engineering the Next Generation of Devices for Epilepsy

NORTHSTAR Seminar, May 5
1:00 PM
Additional Q&A and Networking 2-2:30 PM cst via Zoom

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Speaker: Laura Cabrera, PhD - Penn State
Title: Is the treatment worse than the disease?: Ethical concerns and attitudes towards psychiatric electroceutical interventions.

Abstract: In recent years, electroceuticals have gained increasing attention as treatments for neurological and mental health disorders. Electroceuticals have both the potential to alleviate devastating conditions and the capacity to create unforeseen and unwanted consequences, raising a variety of ethical concerns. In this seminar I present results from a national survey, which used an embedded experiment to assess attitudes and ethical concerns regarding electroceuticals used for depression across four different stakeholder groups: psychiatrists, patients, caregivers and general public. We found notable differences in attitudes and ethical concerns by type of electroceutical and by stakeholder group. TMS was viewed most positively among all groups, and psychiatrists had overall the most positive affect towards all modalities of electroceuticals. Limited evidence of the treatment's safety was the most important ethical concern to the use of electroceuticals, reported by non-clinicians and across different modalities. Psychiatrists top ethical concern was "patient not getting treatment when it would actually help them". Our findings support the needs to address misconceptions and to better address ethical concerns identified by different stakeholder groups. Discussion will include the implications for the responsible clinical use and development of electroceuticals.

Bio: Dr. Cabrera is an Associate Professor of Neuroethics at the Center for Neural Engineering, Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State University. She is the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Neuroethics, and a Research Associate at the Rock Ethics Institute. Dr. Cabrera is an honorific member of the Mexican Neuroethics Society, chair of the IEEE Brain Neuroethics Subcommittee, and member of the International Neuroethics Society (INS) Emergent Issues Task Force. Dr. Cabrera's interests focus on the ethical and societal implications of neurotechnologies used for treatment as well as for enhancement purposes.Dr. Cabrera is an Associate Professor of Neuroethics at the Center for Neural Engineering, Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State University. She is the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Neuroethics, and a Research Associate at the Rock Ethics Institute. Dr. Cabrera is an honorific member of the Mexican Neuroethics Society, chair of the IEEE Brain Neuroethics Subcommittee, and member of the International Neuroethics Society (INS) Emergent Issues Task Force. Dr. Cabrera's interests focus on the ethical and societal implications of neurotechnologies used for treatment as well as for enhancement purposes.

NEC Seminar, Friday, April 29
9:00 AM Via Zoom
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Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Brianna Hutchison
Mentors: Dr. Ajiboye and Dr. Graczyk
Title: Exploring cortical encoding of single location tactile indentation of the human fingertip.

Abstract: Restoring the sense of touch to people with somatosensory deficits is critical to rehabilitation since we use tactile feedback for everyday activities. When grasping objects, we rely on tactile feedback from multiple fingers to indicate contact with the object and the application of appropriate force to hold the object. People with cervical-level spinal cord injuries (SCIs) often have permanent motor and sensory loss, and have expressed restoration of their arm and hand function as one of their top priorities. The proposed work will focus on laying the scientific foundation to restore the sense of touch to the hand. The proposed work will explore the cortical representation of single and multiple location tactile indentation to the fingertips in the human primary somatosensory cortex. Similar work in non-human primates (NHPs) demonstrated neural activity modulated to indentation rate and depth applied to single locations. This research will verify these neural principles apply to humans. Understanding the intact sensory system will facilitate sensory restoration efforts and advance sensory neuroscience. I will describe preliminary results for my first aim, which will explore the cortical response to touch applied to single locations. Preliminary results show neural activity modulates to indentation location, increases linearly with depth, and increases linearly with rate. These results suggest the human SCI neural model is similar to the intact NHP neural model, hinting at generalizability of the results to other humans with somatosensory deficits. Plans to improve the data collection and data analysis will be discussed. Next, I will introduce the second aim, exploring the cortical response to touch applied to multiple locations. These aims will lay the foundation for our lab's future work, where we will integrate multiple-location sensory feedback into the BCI-FES system to enable more dexterous grasping and object interaction for people with SCIs.

Join Medtronic and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota for a virtual grand rounds event.
Monday, May 9, 2022
3:35-4:30 PM
Register for the Zoom webinar
Speaker:Hank Bink Medtronic,
Closed-loop spinal cord stimulation using sensed evoked compound action potentials (ECAPs)
Speaker: Alexander Opitz Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Tracking physiological signals for improved neurostimulation protocols
Speaker: Sina Shirinpour Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Methods for closed-loop phase-dependent neurostimulation
Title: New technologies for closed-loop therapy of the nervous system

CMU Neural Engineering Seminar, Wednesday , April 27
4:00-5:00 PM ET, Via Zoom
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Speaker: Nitish Thakor, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
Title: Machine to Brain Interface - Integrating Sensory Perception with Cognition

Abstract:The topic of Brain Machine Interface (BMI) has captured the imagination with remarkable demonstrations of control of computers and prosthetic hands. Both noninvasive and invasive, implanted, approaches have been demonstrated to achieve control of dexterous prosthetic hands. More recent work by our group and others has focused on building the Machine to Brain Interface (MBI) to provide sensory information to the brain from the machine (the prosthesis). Our comprehensive approach begins with building sensors such as for touch, temperature, proprioception, etc and returning the information to the nervous system - which can be done via interfacing to the skin, peripheral nerves, or directly to the brain. In this talk I will introduce the concept of BMI and MBI through major examples in the field, including by our team at Johns Hopkins and its Applied Physics Laboratory. Next, I will present the design of bio-inspired tactile sensors for prosthesis. Further, to mimic the information from the tactile sensor, I will present a 'neuromorphic' model of tactile sensing. The next step is to provide tactile feedback which can be electrocutaneous stimulation to the skin, peripheral nerves or the brain. The final step is to show if the brain receives and processes the information from the prosthesis. Indeed, I will show that MBI involves integration of multiple sensory input and complex network processing by the brain. I will conclude with the challenges and the future directions for the field of MBI.

Speaker Biography: Nitish Thakor is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. His technical expertise is in the fields of Medical Instrumentation and Neuroengineering, where he has carried out research on many technologies for brain monitoring, implantable neurotechnologies, neuroprosthesis and brain-machine interface. He has published over 430 refereed journal papers (GH Index 89), obtained 16 US and international patents and co-founded 3 active companies. He was previously the Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, and currently the EIC of Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing (Springer/Nature). He received a Research Career Development Award from NIH and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the NSF, and is a Fellow of AIMBE, Life Fellow of IEEE, BMES, and IAMBE. He is a recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Indian Institute of Technology, India, and a Centennial Medal from the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering. He was elected to the National Academy of Inventor in 2021.

Neural Prosthesis Seminar, Thursday, April 14
3:00 PM EST,
via Zoom

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Speaker: Roy Sillitoe, Ph.D.
Title: Genetic Dissection of Cerebellar Function By Generating Mice With Disease-like Phenotypes

Neural Engineering Seminar, Wednesday , April 13
4:00-5:00 PM ET, Via Zoom
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Speaker: Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Director of the Epilepsy and Movement Disorders Surgery University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Title: Cortical-Subcortical Interactions in the Epileptic Brain

Abstract: Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide and over 30% of these individuals have intractable disabling seizures which cannot be completely controlled by medical therapy. Medically refractory epilepsy is highly debilitating and lethal (mortality rate is 5 times higher than that of the general population). Surgical treatment is often the only option, but current conventional surgical interventions are frequently associated with failures, complications and high costs. Patients with multi-focal or generalized epilepsy are not candidates for respective surgery and have few treatment options available. One of the major impediments to improving the diagnosis and treatment of refractory epilepsy is a basic lack of knowledge about how seizures are organized, how they start, spread and terminate. Intracranial monitoring of brain activity via stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG) has been employed to study electrophysiological signatures of seizures, in order to identify the epileptogenic zone (EZ) for possible resection or neuromodulation. Despite considerable evidence for subcortical involvement in epilepsy collected over the past century, such studies now focus mainly on examining seizures in cortical brain regions, leaving largely unexplored the vast thalamocortical networks that are known to underlie many aspects of cortical synchronization. In this talk, we will present clinical evidence of basal ganglia and thalamic involvement in focal epilepsy, demonstrating that the thalamo-cortical networks critically participate in seizure initiation and termination via their reciprocal connections. The patterns of functional connectivity and in situ local field potential recordings obtained from patients with medically refractory epilepsy who undergo depth electrode invasive monitoring by applying SEEG methodology will be demonstrated and discussed...

Speaker Biography: Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez MD PhD FAANS is a board-certified neurosurgeon subspecialized in epilepsy and functional neurosurgery. He is the director of the epilepsy and movement disorders surgery and part of the Epilepsy Center at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr Gonzalez have published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to epilepsy surgery and methods of brain mapping for patients with medically intractable epilepsy and movement disorders. He has been serving the American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery in the capacity of member of the executive committee for the last 6 years, developing high relevant projects and topics related to the field of functional neurosurgery and epilepsy. Dr Gonzalez is a medical pioneer in novel surgical methods for treating medically refractory seizures such as stereo-electroencephalography, SEEG guided laser ablative procedures, neuromodulatory interventions and robotic guided surgeries, bringing for the first time innovative surgical interventions to the United States and other countries. His particular field of interest and academic drive is related to neuro-electrophysiology, intracranial signal processing and behavioral neuroscience studies. Combined, the clinical and basic science efforts have been guiding his academic and clinical pathway for safer and more efficient methods for treating patients with severe seizures and abnormal movement disorders, promoting the improvement of symptoms, in combination with better functional and quality of life outcomes

NEC Seminar, Friday, April 8
9 AM, Via Zoom
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Zoom Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Kenya Alfaro
Advisor: Dr. Ajiboye
Title: The Influence of Natural Sensation on Kinetic-Related Neural Modulation in the Motor Cortex.

Abstract:
Significance: Restoration of grasp force-control in persons with, tetraplegia (paralysis from the neck down) is imperative in order for them to perform activities of daily living that include interacting with and manipulating objects. Background: Current brain machine interface (BMI) neuroprostheses have successfully restored reaching and limited grasping to persons with tetraplegia by extracting kinematic (position- and velocity- related) movement parameters from motor cortical activity. However, BMI system have not yet implemented brain control of grasp force, due to lack of efficacious decoding of kinetic (force-related) movement parameters from cortical signals. Previous investigation in able-bodied individuals and non-human primates have shown the feasibility of extracting kinetic parameters from motor cortical activity1-4. However, studies with individuals with tetraplegia have shown less robust kinetic-related neural modulation5,6. A possible avenue for increasing kinetic-related neural modulation in motor cortical activity is providing sensory feedback to the participant during desired force control, since sensory feedback has been shown to impact force-modulation7,8. Hypothesis: Sensory feedback will enhance kinetic-related neural modulation in motor cortical activity, and allow for more robust decoding of grasp forces in persons with chronic tetraplegia. Approach: Cortical activity is recorded from two microelectrode arrays implanted in the motor cortex of a participant with tetraplegia. Neural features will be extracted from the cortical activity while the participant attempts to produce three force levels (i.e. light, medium, and hard). During the force production task, one of the three following conditions will be presented: 1. No sensory feedback, 2. binary sensory feedback (i.e. sensation ON during task and OFF any other time), and 3. Sensory feedback proportional to the force level. Offline decoding of the attempted force levels, based upon the cortical activity, will be assessed using a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) classifier. Expected Results: Modulation of neural features to grasp kinetics will increase and decoder discriminability will improve when sensory feedback is provided proportional to the attempted grasp force level.
Reference

  1. Sergio, L. E. & Kalaska, J. F. Systematic changes in motor cortex cell activity with arm posture during directional isometric force generation. J. Neurophysiol. 89, 212-228 (2003).
  2. Moritz, C. T., Perlmutter, S. I. & Fetz, E. E. Direct control of paralysed muscles by cortical neurons. Nature 456, 639-642 (2008).
  3. Pohlmeyer, E. A. et al. Toward the restoration of hand use to a paralyzed monkey: Brain-controlled functional electrical stimulation of forearm muscles. PLoS One 4, (2009).
  4. Flint, R. D., Rosenow, J. M., Tate, M. C. & Slutzky, M. W. Continuous decoding of human grasp kinematics using epidural and subdural signals. J. Neural Eng. 14, 016005 (2017).
  5. Rastogi, A. et al. The neural representation of force across grasp types in motor cortex of humans with tetraplegia. bioRxiv 2020.06.01.126755 (2020) doi:10.1101/2020.06.01.126755.
  6. Rastogi, A. et al. Neural Representation of Observed, Imagined, and Attempted Grasping Force in Motor Cortex of Individuals with Chronic Tetraplegia. Sci. Rep. 10, 1-16 (2020).
  7. Brochier, T., Boudreau, M.-J. J., Pare, M. & Smith, A. M. The effects of muscimol inactivation of small regions of motor and somatosensory cortex on independent finger movements and force control in the precision grip. Exp. Brain Res. 1999 1281 128, 31-40 (1999).
  8. Carteron, A. et al. Temporary Nerve Block at Selected Digits Revealed Hand Motor Deficits in Grasping Tasks. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 10, (2016).

Neural Engineering Seminar NORTHSTAR Seminar Series
April 7, 1PM cst

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Speaker: Edward Chang, MD, PhD - Professor and Chair of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.
Title: Restoring Words Through a Speech Neuroprothesis

NEC Seminar, Friday, April 1
9AM, Via Zoom
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Zoom Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Jay Shiralkar
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Neural connection between the autonomic nervous system and breast tumor.

Abstract: Objective: Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in US women. 12-17 % of cases are triple negative breast cancers and therefore very difficult to treat. It has been reported that metastatic (malignant) tumors are densely innervated by nerve fibers compared to non-metastatic and benign tumors, particularly with advancing clinical grades. Various studies have shown that the autonomic nervous system is involved in the development of solid tumors but the neural activity in the tumor has not yet been correlated with the presence of autonomic fibers. Methods: In this study, electrical recordings have been performed directly from solid tumors of triple negative breast cancer pertaining to the 4T1 cell line in the Balb/cJ murine model. Using bioluminescence imaging (BLI), tumor growth and metastasis have been tracked. Histological analysis pertaining to immunostaining methods was used to confirm the presence of nerves in tumor tissue. To explore the roles of two branches of autonomic nervous system in neural activity patterns, sub diaphragmatic vagotomy and 6-hydroxydopamine mediated chemical sympathectomy were performed. Results: The results indicate that the neural activity patterns are correlated with the growth of the primary tumor and metastasis. Two “peaks” of high levels of neural hyperactivity were observed and correlated with metastasis. The neural activity was partially blocked by vagotomy and completely blocked following sympathectomy indicating that nor-adrenergic sympathetic nerves are likely the origin of the recorded signals. Significance: The outcomes of the study can be used to explore the mechanisms of tumor growth and metastasis and the link between the autonomic nervous system and the tumor. In particular, neural activity in tumors could be used to predict the malignancy and the development stage of the tumor.

CMU Neural Engineering Seminar, Wednesday , March 16
4:00-5:00 PM ET, Via Zoom
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Speaker: Jana Kainerstorfer, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Title: Clinical translation of optical imaging methods for tissue perfusion monitoring

Abstract: Bedside monitoring of tissue perfusion is important for a variety of diseases. For cerebral monitoring, cerebral perfusion is important especially for traumatic brain injury, hydrocephalus, sepsis, and stroke, where inadequate perfusion can lead to ischemia and neuronal damage. Diffuse optical methods, such as near-infrared spectroscopy and diffuse correlation spectroscopy, are non-invasive optical techniques which can be used to measure cerebral changes at the bedside. This talk will focus on these optical techniques and their ability to monitor patients and predict treatment outcome. One example of such will be presented which is our recent developments of a non-invasive intracranial pressure (ICP) sensor. Using diffuse correlation spectroscopy to measure cerebral microvascular blood flow, we developed an algorithm which translates cerebral blood flow into ICP. After initial validation in an animal model, we have recently translated the method to patients in the pediatric ICU. Our results show that ICP can be extracted to within ~2 mmHg, making this a clinically useful tool with the opportunity to replace invasive ICP sensors. We further have found that ICP and cerebral perfusion pressure does change neuronal function and neuro-vascular coupling, which could be used as biomarker for treatment optimization in traumatic brain injured patients. This talk will summarize our optical imaging methods, experimental procedures, and results, as well as the path towards clinical translation and patient treatment optimization.

Speaker Biography: Jana Kainerstorfer is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and holds courtesy appointments in the Neuroscience Institute and Electrical & Computer Engineering. Her lab's research is focused on developing noninvasive optical imaging methods for disease detection and/or treatment monitoring, with an emphasis on diffuse optical imaging. Her research mainly focuses on clinical translation of optical methods for monitoring cerebral perfusion and developing tools for assessing cerebral health in traumatic brain injury. Other applications of diffuse optics span fetal health monitoring as well as brain imaging in marine mammals. She serves on program committees at national and international conferences (including the SPIE Photonics West as well as OSA Topical Meetings) and serves as Conference Chair for the OSA Biophotonics Congress: Optical Tomography and Spectroscopy in 2022 and Conference Chair for the Photonics West: Clinical and Translational Neurophotonics subconference. She further is an associate editor for Journal of Biomedical Optics (SPIE), served as associated editor for IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, as a guest editor for Opportunities in Neurophotonics in APL Photonics, and as editor for the Virtual Journal of Biomedical Optics (a journal of OPTICA). She got elected as a senior member of the Optical Society of America (now OPTICA). Her research has been funded by AHA, NIH, ONR, DARPA, NSF, and the Air Force, including the NIH R21 Trailblazer as well as AHA Scientist Development Grant.

NEC Seminar, Friday, March 11
9:00 AM, Via Zoom
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Zoom Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Hamid Charkhkar, Ph.D., and Daekyoo Kim, Ph.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering, CWRU
Title: Restored plantar sensations in individuals with lower-limb loss improves gait symmetry and motor adaptation

Abstract: Lower limb loss is a major insult to the body's peripheral nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Despite technological advances in prosthesis design, artificial limbs are not well integrated into the body's physiological systems. Therefore, individuals with lower-limb amputation, compared to able-bodied people, experience lower balance confidence, higher fear of fall, and deficits in their gait mechanics. Restoring the intraneural sensory feedback from the missing limb has shown promising results in improving balance and performance in certain ambulatory tasks, however, the effects of such evoked sensations on neural circuitries involved in the locomotor activity are not well understood. In this work, we investigated how sensory feedback via peripheral nerve stimulation affects motor adaptation during walking on a split-belt treadmill. We found that plantar sensation improves gait symmetry and perception of prosthetic leg movement while walking. Furthermore, our results show the response to the motor adaptation paradigm among amputee participants with the restored plantar sensation became similar to able-bodied individuals. This finding suggests plantar sensation directly affects CNS pathways involved in motor adaptation during locomotion. Our work paves the way to understand how somatosensation in the lower limbs can effectively increase mobility, improve walking dynamics, and reduce fall risks.

NEC Seminar, Friday, March 4
9:00 AM, Via Zoom
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Zoom Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Leah Roldan
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: Tactile Percept Integration for Object Feature Encoding

Abstract: Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (FINEs and cFINEs) have been successfully implanted in upper limb amputees, providing these participants with somatosensory feedback that feels as though it is their own hand and arm. Prior work has provided an understanding of the relationship between stimulation paradigms and the perceived sensation at a single point of perception, such as the index fingertip, at a time. However, touch requires the integration of sensations across the finger and hand for applications such as object recognition (stereognosis) and improved manual dexterity. Refractory stimulation techniques used to study recruited motor population overlap were therefore adapted to study the afferent axon populations recruited during multi-contact stimulation. Validation tests were first performed to see if intensity could be substituted for force in these refractory studies. Preliminary results do not support the use of this method to study overlap in sensory fibers, but does reveal the effects of burst stimulation on perceived sensation quality, as well as suggests that further research into stimulation waveform parameters is necessary. I will also briefly discuss preliminary multi-contact stimulation data, with initial results revealing trends in location and intensity integration that appear to be dependent on percept size and location during single contact stimulation.

CMU Neural Engineering Seminar, Wednesday, Mar 2
4:00-5:00 PM ET
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Speaker: Zhongming Liu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan
Title: Imaging the brain for neuroscience and artificial intelligence

Abstract: Neuroscience can inspire AI. AI can help study the brain. In this talk, I will present our recent progress in bridging neuroscience and AI by using images of brain activity. I will share some examples of using AI to model and decode brain activity during resting state, natural vision, and speech comprehension, as well as emerging ideas in brain-inspired models for computer vision and natural language processing.

Speaker Biography: Zhongming Liu received B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Zhejiang University, and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Then he was a research fellow in the Advanced MRI Section at the National Institutes of Health advised by Jeff Duyn. From 2013 to 2019, he was an Assistant/Associate Professor in both Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. Since 2020, he has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, and Editorial Board Member for NeuroImage. His lab develops and uses advanced techniques for imaging, recording, stimulating and modeling the brain to accelerate progress in neurosciences, neural engineering, and artificial intelligence.

Other Spring Seminar Speakers:

* March 16, 2022

    • Clinical translation of optical imaging methods for tissue perfusion monitoring
    • Jana Kainerstorfer, Ph.D., Associate Professor at CMU
* March 30, 2022
    • Nodes and edges... Can we connect the dots in epilepsy?
    • Kate Davis, M.D., Associate Professor at U Penn
* April 13, 2022
    • Cortical-Subcortical Interactions in the Epileptic Brain
    • Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, M.D., Professor at UPMC
* April 27, 2022
    • Going from brain machine interface to machine to brain interface
    • Nitish Thakor, Ph.D., Professor at Johns Hopkins University

BME Faculty Candidate Seminar, Thursday, Feb 24
4:00-5:00 PM
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Speaker: Robert F. Kirsch, PhD
Title: Objective Symptom Assessment in Parkinson's Disease: Technology Development and Clinical Applications

About Dr. Pulliam: Dr. Pulliam is a medical technology industry leader with an established track record working at the interface between technology development and the clinical study design and execution for early proof-of-concept. He specializes in signal processing and machine learning, with an emphasis on clinical decision support systems. In his current role, he leads a Research and Technology team at Medtronic Neuromodulation comprised of neuroscientists and biomedical engineers that are responsible for driving much of the early technology feasibility efforts for physiological sensing and closed loop systems across multiple therapy domains. Prior to joining Medtronic, he worked on algorithms for patient monitoring platforms as an Engineer and Product Manager with Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies. Chris received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

Abstract: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement. Fluctuations in response to pharmaceutical treatment are difficult to treat, as tools to monitor temporal patterns of motor symptoms in the context of daily life are hampered by several challenges. This seminar will provide an overview of several studies that were conducted to develop and validate wearable technologies for remotely monitoring tremor, bradykinesia, and dyskinesia in individuals in PD. Algorithm scores for these symptoms were shown to have high concordance with clinical experts. Specific applications of these technologies to address unmet needs in the PD care pathway, such as advanced therapy referral and deep brain stimulation programming, will also be introduced.

Musculoskeletal Research Program 2021-2022 Seminar Series Wednesday, Feb 23
4:00-5:00 PM
Zoom Meeting ID: 995 2291 8365
Passcode: 220748
Speaker: Richard Lieber, Ph.D
Title: Laboratory and Intraoperative Studies of Human Muscle Contractures

NEC Seminar, Friday, Feb 25
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Tom Foutz, M.D., PhD.Instructor Department of Neurology, School of Medicine Washington University in St. Louis
Title: Treating Epilepsy in the Age of Neurostimulation

Neural Prosthesis Live Webinar, Feb 17
3:00 PM ET
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Passcode: 123456
Speaker: Bryan Ward, MD
Title: MRI-Induced Vertigo
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CMU Neural Engineering Seminar, Wednesday, Feb 16
4:00-5:00 PM ET
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Speaker: Alison Barth, PhD, Maxwell H and Gloria C. Connan Professor of the Life Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
Title: Algorithms for learning: synaptic plasticity during sensory learning in mouse neocortex

Abstract: What are the neural circuits by which the brain differentiates between incidental and meaningful environmental inputs to enable long-lasting changes in sensation and behavior? Experimental evidence indicates that this distinction may be made at the earliest stages of cortical processing, in primary sensory cortex. We use high-throughput, automated behavioral training in freely-moving mice to determine how the detailed neural circuitry of the cerebral cortex is modified during acquisition of a tactile reward-based association. Our data indicate that durable changes in the activity and output of somatostatin (SST) GABAergic neurons is selectively driven by sensory association training but not passive sensory exposure, providing a foothold to investigate the cellular circuitry that distinguishes between different types of experience-dependent plasticity.

Speaker Biography Alison Barth is the Maxwell H and Gloria C. Connan Professor of the Life Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, where she studies the organization and plasticity of neocortical circuits in rodents. Her work centers on how synapses are altered by behavioral experience, where she uses neurophysiological recordings, transgenic mice, and fluorescence and electron microscopy to understand brain function. She has developed numerous tools for visualizing and perturbing brain function, including the fosGFP transgenic mouse and novel fluorescent markers for cell-type specific synaptic quantitation. Dr. Barth is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Research Award for Innovation in Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience, the McKnight Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and has been a Leverhulme and Sloan Foundation fellow. She holds a patent for the fosGFP transgenic mouse, and is an inventor on multiple applications for other neuroscience-related methods and treatments.

Other Spring Seminar Speakers

* March 2, 2022

    • Imaging the brain for neuroscience and artificial intelligence
    • Zhongming Liu, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Michigan
* March 16, 2022
    • Clinical translation of optical imaging methods for tissue perfusion monitoring
    • Jana Kainerstorfer, Ph.D., Associate Professor at CMU
* March 30, 2022
    • Nodes and edges... Can we connect the dots in epilepsy?
    • Kate Davis, M.D., Associate Professor at U Penn
* April 13, 2022
    • Cortical-Subcortical Interactions in the Epileptic Brain
    • Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, M.D., Professor at UPMC
* April 27, 2022
    • Going from brain machine interface to machine to brain interface
    • Nitish Thakor, Ph.D., Professor at Johns Hopkins University

NEC Seminar Friday, Feb 4
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Nabeel Chowdhury
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: Stimulation Usage in a Virtual Reactionary Sensorimotor Integration Task

Abstract: In a continuation of the Tyler Lab's research into the usage of artificial peripheral nerve stimulation in the motor control system, we have developed a virtual task involving the control of grip using muscle contractions. In this test, subjects' muscle signals correlated with their grip size and grip force on virtual blocks. During the majority of tests, the blocks shifted to a different size requiring the subject to adjust their virtual grip. The task occurred with and without the aid of stimulation allowing the subjects to feel how hard they were grabbing the blocks. Based on our previous results, we expected that when correcting for these sudden shifts in grip, the time to react to the shift when given stimulation would be faster than cases without. Our results however show that the times to react with and without stimulation are not significantly different, though the times to react are consistent with our data on the effect of stimulation intensity on reaction time. While our hypothesis is neither proven nor disproven, our overall results from this and previous tests are consistent. Future test cases will focus on decoupling reaction times and intensity.

NEC seminar, Wednesday , Feb 2
4:00-5:00PM ET, via Zoom
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Speaker: Deblina Sarkar, PhD, Assistant Professor at MIT and AT&T Career Development Chair Professor at MIT Media Lab
Title: Of Computers, Brain and Neurological Diseases

Abstract: While the computing demands of Information Technology are ever increasing, the capabilities of electronics have hit fundamental walls due to energy and dimensional unscalability. In this talk, I will demonstrate the quantum mechanical transistor, which beats the fundamental energy limitations. This device is the world's thinnest channel (6 atoms thick) sub-thermal tunnel-transistor. Thus, it has the potential to allow dimensional scalability to beyond Silicon scaling era and thereby to address the long-standing issue of simultaneous dimensional and power scalability. Going beyond electronic computation, I will discuss about the biological computer: the brain, which can be thought of as an ultimate example of low power computational system. I will introduce the technology, which reveals for the first time, a nanoscale trans-synaptic architecture in brain and the way mother nature has engineered biomolecular organization in the brain to optimize its computing efficiency. This technology can also be used to decipher intriguing biomolecular nanoarchitectures related to neurological diseases, otherwise invisible to existing technologies. I will conclude with our group's research vision for how extremely powerful technologies can be built by fusing diverse fields and discuss briefly about the research directions of my new lab at MIT.
[1] D. Sarkar et. al., Nature, 526 (7571), 91, 2015;
[2] D. Sarkar et. al., in press Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2022;
[3] D. Sarkar et. al., Nano Lett., 15 (5), 2852, 2015;
[4] D. Sarkar et. al., ACS Nano., 8 (4), 3992, 2014;
[5] D. Sarkar et. al., Appl. Phys. Lett., 100 (14), 143108, 2012.

Speaker Bio: Deblina Sarkar is an assistant professor at MIT and AT&T Career Development Chair Professor at MIT Media Lab. She heads the Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek research group. Her group carries out trans-disciplinary research fusing engineering, applied physics, and biology, aiming to bridge the gap between nanotechnology and synthetic biology to develop disruptive technologies for nanoelectronic devices and create new paradigms for life-machine symbiosis. Her inventions include, among others, a 6-atom thick channel quantum-mechanical transistor overcoming fundamental power limitations, an ultra-sensitive label-free biosensor and technology for nanoscale deciphering of biological building blocks of brain. Her PhD dissertation was honored as one of the top 3 dissertations throughout USA and Canada in the field of Mathematics, Physical sciences and all departments of Engineering. She is the recipient of numerous other awards and recognitions, including the Lancaster Award, Technology Review's one of the Top 10 Innovators Under 35 from India, NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award.

NEC seminar, Friday, January 28
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Aidan Friederich
Research Advisors: Prof. Triolo
Title: Sensor Fusion to Determine Trunk Position

Abstract: Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) at or above the thoracic level often have impaired seated stability due to paralyzed muscles of the hip and trunk. Application of a constant level of functional neuromuscular stimulation has been shown to improve seated balance and facilitate activities of daily living. However, constant stimulation is unable to respond to perturbations or enable leaning postures, both of which require feedback control. Currently, the feedback signal is acquired through an external accelerometer placed at the C7 vertebrae. The next generation of stimulators, the Networked Neuroprosthesis (NNP), has implanted accelerometers which could serve as a feedback signal without having to don and doff an external sensor. The NNP is composed of a central power module connected to stimulating/ recording modules implanted in the abdomen and chest of the subjects. These modules each have an accelerometer, however, the precise position and orientation of these modules is unknown as they are placed based on surgical constraints. In this talk we will discuss a method of calibrating a set of sensors with unknown orientation and position and fusing their signals into a single measure of trunk position. We will also cover the results from applying this method with external sensors on six individuals with SCI.

CMU Neural Engineering Seminar - Spring Speakers, Wednesdays, Jan 19
4-5 PM ET, via Zoom
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Speaker: Byron Yu, Ph.D., Professor at CMU
Title: Brain-computer interfaces for basic science

NEC Seminar, Friday, Jan 14
09:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Tyler Johnson
Research Advisors: Dr. Dawn Taylor
Title: Integration of Limb Stiffness Modulation in Brain-Controlled Neuroprosthetic systems

Abstract: During normal movement, people actively modulate the stiffness or rigidity of their limbs depending on their goal by simultaneously activating sets of antagonist muscles. This resultant limb stiffness is an important and often overlooked aspect of motor control, especially in Brain Computer Interface (BCI) and Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) studies. My research seeks to discover ways of incorporating limb stiffness into BCI/FES control via both neural decoding and intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) to improve the motor control capabilities of these systems.

NEC Seminar, Friday, Jan 7
09:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Muthumeenakshi Subramanian
Research Advisors: Prof. Durand
Title: Can controlling local electric field prevent generation of epileptic activity?

Abstract: Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders affecting about 65 million people worldwide. Focal seizures account for 60 percent of all seizures, our lab has shown that neural recruitment in epilepsy occurs in part due to electric field (ephaptic) coupling. Neural activity including epileptic waveforms such as spikes and seizures can propagate using electric fields independent of synaptic transmission. Therefore, controlling the local electric field could suppress or cancel the generation and propagation of abnormally synchronized events. We tested the hypothesis that clamping the local extracellular electric fields can prevent the generation of epileptic spikes and seizures in an in vitro study in mice hippocampi. In the seminar, I will talk about how we used an extracellular voltage clamp system to maintain zero voltage at the focus of the seizure in mice hippocampal slice by applying appropriate feedback current between two stimulating electrodes placed on the edge of the temporal region in line with the recording electrode at the focus. I will also showcase our results – how the electric field produced by the applied current when the feedback circuit was on, cancelled the local extracellular electric field involved in the generation of the epileptic events as evidenced by the clamp achieving 100% suppression of both epileptic spikes and seizure events.

Spring 2022 NORTHSTAR seminar series

Spring 2022 NORTHSTAR Speakers

February 3, 2022 | 1p CT
Daniel Chew, PhD-Galvani Bioelectronics
Splenic Neuromodulation-Implantable Device Treatment for Inflammatory Conditions

March 3, 2022 | 1p CT
Jennifer French, MBA-Neurotech Network
Going Beyond User Experience: Integrating Effective Community Engagement into Neurotechnology Development

April 7, 2022 | 1p CT
Edward Chang, MD-University of California, San Francisco
Restoring Words Through a Speech Neuroprosthesis

May 5, 2022 | 1p CT
Laura Y. CabreraPhD - Penn State University
Is the Treatment Worse than the Disease?: Ethical Concerns and Attitudes Towards Psychiatric Electroceutical Interventions

NORTHSTAR Flyer PDF

2021

NEC Seminar, Friday, Dec 10
09:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Palak Gupta
Research Advisors: Dr. Aasef Shaikh
Title: Mechanistic Underpinnings of Strabismus in Parkinson's Disease

Abstract: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by a host of motor and non-motor symptoms affecting about 10 million individuals worldwide. Visuo-motor deficits in PD are far more common than appreciated. These deficits comprised of impaired rapid gaze shifts (i.e., saccades) cause difficulties in reading or scanning the surrounding environment. PD is also associated with impairment in the simultaneous movement of both eyes in the opposite direction (i.e., vergence). The latter contributes to misalignment of the two eyes (strabismus) and abnormal fusion of the visual signal leading to blurry or double vision and impaired depth perception in up to 1/3rd of PD patients. The goal of my presentation is four-fold: a) to quantify misalignment between two eyes that leads to strabismus and double vision in PD, b) to understand which parameters of binocular disparity can be modulated by STN-DBS, c) provide insight into mechanistic underpinnings of strabismus in PD, and d) identify regions of the subthalamic nucleus where DBS improves strabismus. -- To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to neccenter+unsubscribe@case.edu.

NEC Seminar, Friday, Dec 3
09:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Emily Conlan
Advisors: Prof. Ajiboye
Title: Utilizing the Grasp Network for Restoration of Hand Function in Participants with Tetraplegia

Abstract: There are roughly seventeen thousand new cases of spinal cord injury annually in the United states with almost 50% of cases resulting in complete or incomplete paralysis from the neck down. When persons with tetraplegia were asked, the number one function that they wish they could have restored is hand function. While the Ajiboye Lab (LIMBS) has been able to restore a single hand grasp to our previous participant with tetraplegia, the goal of my research is to expand this to include a number of grasps sufficient for activities of daily living. Previous literature indicates that two cortical areas, anterior intraparietal (AIP) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), contain information about hand grasp that has not fully been utilized in a BCI-FES system. There has been significant research on these areas in non-human primates (NHP) that demonstrated not only grasp intent while the subject is moving, but even before movement occurs. Additionally, a few studies proposed that you could decode multiple grasps in a sequence before any action occurred. I propose a BCI-FES system that leverages NHP research by including these two novel areas of cortex, which will allow us to build a more responsive, intuitive system. During this talk, I will discuss the basic properties of these areas and how I plan to utilize them in my research.

NEC Seminar, Monday, November 29
3-4 PM ET , via Zoom
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Speaker: Matt Smith, Ph.D Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Neuroscience Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Title: Decoding local and global cognitive signals from neuronal populations

Abstract: Neural activity observed within a brain area may reflect local computations within the area, inputs from another area, or shared computations/inputs across many areas. Ideally, these distinct mechanisms could be studied separately. However, because multiple processes can influence groups of neurons, it is not obvious how to separate the neural signals that should be attributed to each process. We investigated the different behavioral roles of neural variability shared across hemispheres and neural variability local to each hemisphere. To do this, we applied dimensionality reduction methods to bilateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) array recordings. We were able to identify latent variables representing activity shared across hemispheres, as well as latent variables representing activity local to each hemisphere. We found that variability shared across hemispheres was dominated by a process that slowly evolved across trials and was highly correlated with trial-to-trial fluctuations in mean pupil diameter - a potential neural correlate of fluctuations in arousal. By decoding this signal from neuronal population activity, we were able to predict a constellation of aspects of the animal's task and eye movement behavior. Overall, our work demonstrates how distributed cognitive processes and states can be hidden in subtle shifts in the responsivity of individual neurons, but accessed and decoded from simultaneously recorded populations of neurons

About the Speaker: Matt Smith (B.S. Canisius College, Ph.D. New York University) is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Neuroscience Institute. His laboratory studies visual perception, cognition, and decisions. They use a combination of electrophysiological and imaging techniques, combined with computational approaches, to gain insight into how populations of neurons work together to support perception and action.bhe

NEC Seminar, Friday, November 19
09:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Natalie Mueller
Advisors: Dr. Capadona and Dr. Hess-Dunning
Title: Mechanically-adaptive, antioxidant-eluting neural probes to mitigate intracortical microelectrode failure.

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes are used for basic neuroscience research, treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, and the restoration of function for individuals with spinal cord injury or limb loss. Unfortunately, they fail shortly after implantation, characterized by reduced recording performance over time. Although material and mechanical failure play a role, failure is primarily attributed to the neuroinflammatory response. Mechanical mismatch between the soft brain tissue and stiff electrode materials, as well as a state of oxidative stress, contribute to neuroinflammation. To mitigate these failure modes, we have developed a probe composed of a mechanically-adaptive material and loaded with an antioxidant for local resveratrol delivery. Previously, the lab has completed in vivo studies with non-functional probes and saw an improvement in the neuroinflammatory response, but the recording performance was not characterized. In this work, we have refined a unique microfabrication method to successfully add recording electrodes. Additionally, we characterized the resveratrol release profile from the material. We also completed an in vivo pilot study to evaluate the device functionality and stability over an 8 week period. Our results indicated that the resveratrol was released from the material over a 72 hour period, and that the devices were able to record single units in vivo for up to two months.

HYBRID FES Center NP Seminar, Thursday, November 18th [PDF]
11:30 am, via Zoom
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Passcode: 123456
Speaker: George Wittenberg, M.D., PhD, F.A.S.N.R.
Title: TMS for the study of Reaching and Connectivity in Healthy, Damaged, and Rehabilitated Brains


Understanding the link between brain structure and behavior has long been a goal of neuroscience and is a driving force behind the BRAIN Initiative. Because brain structures are damaged by disease and injury, and lead to changes in behavior, that understanding has the promise for pointing the way to effective treatments for behavioral deficits. Our long-term goal is better treatments for motor deficits after stroke, that would include both experience and neuromodulation. But until we understand how different regions of the brain connected to support normal function, it is hard to know how and when neuromodulation should be applied. We have undertaken a series of studies that examined how transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used in the context of robotic rehabilitation to affect practice-related plasticity, work out role and timing of brain regions in control of movement. These studies have demonstrated, in part,the importance of premotor regions in the ongoing control of reaching movements – not only in their planning – and their increasing importance after stroke. This work has also led to a new direction, that of aggregating TMS-derived knowledge of brain circuitry into a specialized database that will allow exploration of brain circuitry with an emphasis on timing

Special BME Seminar by Sarah Chang, Thursday November 18, 2021
12:00 Noon, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 91718389310
Passcode: pLb1Ro0C
Phone No: (US) +1 646-558-8656
Passcode: 57642070
Speaker: Sarah Chang is the Director of Research & Development at Orthocare Innovations, LLC focused on advancing prosthetic, orthotic, and assistive device technologies.
Title: Data-Driven Multi-Domain Approach to Support Clinical Care in Orthotics & Prosthetics

Clinicians in the orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) field use approaches such as observational gait analyses, their expertise, and patient feedback to make clinical decisions on adjustments to orthotic and prosthetic devices and to measure patient function. Although these methods work, they can be mono-dimensional, reactive, in retrospect, or qualitative. A data-driven multi-domain approach and associated technologies for evaluating device adjustments have been developed to support clinicians in their evidence-based care and in understanding their patients' function.

CMU Neural Engineering Seminar, Monday, Nov 15
3-4PM ET, via Zoom
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Speaker: Barbara Shinn-Cunningham Ph.D. Cowan Professor of Auditory Neuroscience and Director of Neuroscience Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Title: How the Brain Separates and Focuses on Sounds

Abstract: Not every sound that is audible gets processed in the brain in the same detail. Instead, your brain filters the information reaching the ears, letting through sounds that either seem inherently important (like the sudden crash of a shattering window) or are important for whatever task you are undertaking (like the question an Important Scientist poses to you at a poster session). Depending on what aspect of a sound you focus on, you recruit distinct brain networks that are shared with other sensory modalities. This talk will explain what we know about control of both spatial and non-spatial processing of sound, based on neuroimaging and behavioral studies, and discuss ways this knowledge can be utilized in developing new assistive listening devices.

About the Speaker: Barbara Shinn-Cunningham (Brown University, Sc.B.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.S. and Ph.D.) is the Director of the Neuroscience Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the Cowan Professor of Auditory Neuroscience. She studies auditory attention, spatial perception, and scene analysis, taking into account everything from sensory coding in the cochlea to cognitive networks in cortex. She has won various awards for her research, including the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal from the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), a Vannevar Bush Fellowship, and mentorship awards from the Society for Neuroscience and ASA. She is a Fellow of ASA and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers and is a lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council.

NEC Seminar, Friday, November 12, 2021
9:00 AM - 10 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 951 3620 1257
Passcode: 6nxBzAA0
Title: Neural Engineering Center Seminar

Sam Nason-Tomaszewski, PhD Candidate works with Dr. Cindy Chestek at the University of Michigan since he joined in 2016. Just prior to joining, he graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. His dissertation focuses on low-power brain-machine interface technologies for restoring function to paralyzed fingers using functional electrical stimulation. Sam received the 2021 Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD Research at the University of Michigan College of Engineering for his dissertation work he plans to defend in December.

Restoring Fine, Natural Finger Control to Paralyzed Hands Using a Low-Power Brain-Machine Interface Modern brain-machine interfaces have restored various forms of upper-extremity function to people with paralysis, but they have not yet translated to widespread clinical use. Two major roadblocks hindering translation of hand brain-machine interfaces are their high power consumption and their functionality and naturalism compared to the human hand. To address these obstacles, we first developed a low-power recording technique termed spiking band power (SBP), obtained from the magnitude of the 300-1,000Hz band of spiking activity captured at 2 kilo-samples per second. We found that SBP provides improvements in signal-to-noise ratio, is specific to predicting the firing rate of the highest amplitude single unit on a given channel, and matches or exceeds the prediction capabilities of traditional methods despite requiring 90% less data to be processed. Second, we demonstrated in nonhuman primates, for the first time, that a brain-machine interface can predict the simultaneous, independent, and continuous movements of two finger groups in a non-prehensile task using a linear Kalman filter and SBP. Finally, we combined our low-power brain-machine interface with an implantable functional electrical stimulation (FES) system, the Networked Neuroprosthesis, to restore function to the temporarily paralyzed hand of a nonhuman primate. Using our brain-controlled FES system, we have preliminary data showing continuous, one-dimensional brain-control of hand aperture despite the incapability of performing the task without FES. Together, this work helps bridge the gap to widespread hand neuroprosthesis use in medicine.

NEC Seminar, Friday, November 5
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: John Wright
Research Advisor: Prof. Graczyk
Title: Affective Touch, Pleasantness and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Abstract: Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) has been used to restore somatosensation to amputees, with past research focusing primarily on discriminative touch. This aspect of touch deals with localizing where touch occurred along with details which allow us to identify and interact with objects. In recent decades researchers have begun describing another component of somatosensation, affective touch. Moderated by a class of low-threshold mechanosensitive C-fibers this affective touch deals with hedonic aspects of somatosensation, particularly pleasantness. This talk will explore the history of affective touch research and the possible first steps in using peripheral nerve stimulation to study and restore this facet of somatosensation.

NEC seminar, Friday, October 29
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Aniruddha Upadhye
Research Advisor: Prof. Shoffstall
Title: Fascicles split or merge every ~560 microns within the human cervical vagus nerve

Abstract: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is being explored to treat multiple pathologies. However, fundamental vagal neuroanatomy is not well characterized. We utilized Micro-CT to quantify fascicular branching and neuroanatomy within human mid-cervical vagus nerves. Fascicles split or merged every ~560 µm (17.8 ± 6.1 events/cm). Multiple events within a VNS electrode could explain some of the clinical heterogeneity observed in VNS therapy. Accounting for these events may improve VNS electrode design.

NEC seminar, Friday, October 22
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Nrupen Pakalapati
Research Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Understanding the Mechanisms of Low Frequency Stimulation in Rodent Cortical Slice Preparations

Abstract: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects approximately 50 million people worldwide, it is characterized by recurrent seizures that may involve brief episodes of involuntary movement, loss of awareness and consciousness. Epilepsy, currently, is managed and is not curable. Current epilepsy management methods include broad spectrum drugs, high frequency-deep brain stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation. All three of these approaches have a seizure suppression rate of under 75%. A new modality of stimulation called Low Frequency Stimulation (LFS) shows promise. When LFS is applied to white matter tracts, it is capable of both spreading to grey matter areas innervated by the target white matter tracts and is capable of suppressing seizures in the grey matter areas by 100%. Though there is evidence and past research suggesting that LFS can work remarkably well for seizure suppression, there is no information about how it is able to do so. My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of how LFS of the corpus callosum fiber tracts reduces epileptic activity within the cortex.

CMU Neural Engineering Seminar Series, Monday, October 18
3-4PM EDT, via Zoom
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Speaker: Maysam Chamanzar, Carnegie Mellon University
Title: Advancing the Frontiers of Neural Engineering and Neuroscience.

Abstract: Understanding the neural basis of brain function and dysfunction requires developing multimodal methods to record and stimulate neural activity in the brain with high spatiotemporal resolution. We have been designing high-density opto-electrical devices to enable bi-directional (read/write) interfacing with the brain for long-term chronic studies. One of the challenges of optical techniques for structural and functional recording and imaging is the scattering and absorption of light, limiting light-based methods to superficial layers of tissue. To overcome this challenge, implantable photonic waveguides such as optical fibers or gradient-index (GRIN) lenses have been used for light delivery or imaging. The prohibitive size and rigidity of these optical implants cause damage to the brain tissue and vasculature. Therefore, there is a need to develop non-invasive or minimally-invasive neural interfaces that can enable optical access to the tissue. In this talk, I will discuss our research on developing next generation multimodal neural interfaces that enable non-invasive or minimally-invasive neural interfacing with the brain for simultaneous recording and stimulation of neural activity. In particular, I will discuss the recent initiatives in my lab to develop fully flexible neurophotonic devices that can be surgically implanted in the neural tissue as well as non-invasive neural interfaces that use ultrasound to steer and guide light through the tissue. These novel neurophotonic techniques will enable a whole gamut of applications from fundamental science studies to designing next generation neural prostheses.

About the Speaker: Maysam Chamanzar is a William D. and Nancy W. Strecker Career Development Associate Professor of ECE, where he is running an interdisciplinary research program at the interface of neural engineering, optics and nanotechnology to design next generation neural interfaces. He is also a faculty member of the Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute and the BME department. His research is focused on multimodal neural interfaces to study brain function and dysfunction. His breakthrough research on ultrasonically defined virtual optical components has opened up new opportunities for non-invasive non-surgical micro-endoscopy and in situ optical manipulation. His group has published a few high-impact papers on this subject. Maysam has published more than thirty refereed papers and holds six patent applications in the areas of nanophotonics and neurotechnology. He is the recipient of a number of awards including the NSF CAREER Award, the IEEE BRAIN Best Paper Award, SPIRA Excellence in Teaching Award, SPIE Research Excellence Award, the Sigma-Xi Best Thesis Award, and awards from the Scaife Foundation and the HAND Foundation.

Special NEC Alumni Seminar, Friday, October 15
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Daniel Leventhal, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Michigan Neurologist, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Title: Subcortical Mechanisms of Motor Control

Abstract: Parkinson Disease (PD) is characterized neurochemically by striatal dopamine loss, and clinically by bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor. While altered dopamine signaling causes many PD symptoms, the path from striatal dopamine loss to altered downstream physiology and motor dysfunction remains unclear. Our work focuses on understanding normal and pathologic function at critical nodes in subcortical motor circuits, with the long-term goal of improving treatments for PD and related movement disorders. One such node is “motor” thalamus, a key link between the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and motor cortex. Long regarded as a simple relay from the basal ganglia to cortex, it is now clear that motor thalamus plays a more complex role in regulating motor function. In the first part of my talk, I will describe our work on motor thalamic physiology during a forced choice task in rats. In the second part of my talk, I will describe the complex role of striatal dopamine signaling in motor adaptation, using rat skilled reaching as a model paradigm. Finally, I will describe plans to unify these two lines of inquiry to develop a more complete model of how subcortical motor circuitry influences complex, finely coordinated movement. Deeper understanding of these circuits may lead to improved pharmacologic, neuromodulation, and rehabilitation strategies to treat “extrapyramidal” movement disorders.

NEC Seminar, Friday, October 8
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Vlad Marcu
Research Advisor: Dr. Dustin Tyler
Title: Peripheral Nerve Electrode Designs: From Past to Future.

Abstract: Peripheral nerve electrodes have taken many different forms since some of the earliest designs in the 1970s in order to accommodate newly realized design issues. Using the lessons from the past and modern simulation techniques, modern researchers are able to explore a much larger problem space much faster than their predecessors were able to. Currently, many electrode designs are unable to activate axons with subfascicular levels of selectivity without also causing significant damage to the nerve. I will be proposing two electrode designs that should be able to selectively activate axons within peripheral nerves without violating the perineuria of the fascicles. Simulations and mathematical frameworks will be used to verify that these approaches are viable.

NEC Seminar, Friday, October 1
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Presenter: Michael Hill, PhD, Partner, Global Head Science, Technology and Innovation Science Innovations
Research Advisor: Alessandro Maggi, PhD, Founder at Ecate LLC
Title: An Innovator's Perspective of the Innovation Process in Healthcare and What to Expect of the Future; especially as humans and technology continue to co-evolve, fuse, and transform.

Abstract: Innovation is using knowledge in a new way to create value. Healthcare is an industry overflowing with opportunities for innovation. I will tell my story of curiosity, passion and perseverance to bring several transformational creations from idea to commercial scale and some of the lessons learned along the way. I will describe the impact or value that these innovations have created. And I will propose some challenges for the next generation of innovators to conquer. Alessandro will present his vision and concept that may be a solution to one of these challenges. The best way to prepare for the future is to collaborate and innovate – go create it!

NEC Seminar, Friday, September 24
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Presenter: Sedona Cady
Research Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: The Effects of an Extended Gap in Long-Term Stimulated Sensory Feedback.

Abstract: Individuals with upper extremity loss cannot feel touch distal to the residuum, and prostheses that are available on the market do not provide sensory feedback to these individuals. Stimulating nerves that once innervated the hand has been shown to recreate tactile sensation in amputees. The Tyler lab works with four study participants who have been implanted with Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (FINEs) for durations between a few months to nine years. Participants typically experience intermittent stimulated sensation during monthly lab visits, allowing the participants to develop a baseline perception of stimulated touch. Long-term exposure to stimulated sensation at home has shown to provide several psychosocial improvements, as well as changes in stimulated and phantom sensation qualities. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an interruption in the study participants’ experience with intermittent sensation. It is unknown how the perception of the missing hand changes after long-term sensory feedback has been interrupted. The purpose of this presentation is to show preliminary results of how both stimulated sensation and phantom sensations change after an interruption in intermittent stimulated sensation. We will first discuss how charge thresholds change across time to evaluate the health of the nerve as well as the position of the cuff relative to the nerve. Next, we will assess the perception of the phantom hand and stimulated hand in terms of sensation locations, phantom limb length, and sensation qualities.

NEC Seminar, Friday, September 17
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Jessica Block
Research Advisor: Dr. Michael Moffitt
Title: Characterizing Deep Brain Stimulation with Anodic Polarity.

Abstract: Deep Brain Stimulation in the STN is a proven therapy for rigidity and tremor reduction in patients with Parkinson's Disease. Since the FDA approval of this therapy in 2002, monopolar cathodic stimulation has been the primary mode of stimulation. Recently, monopolar anodic stimulation has demonstrated improved bradykinesia and rigidity in patients with Parkinson's Disease in a small-scale clinical study. In this talk, I will introduce the history of anodic stimulation from the original theories of James Ranck to modern-day current applications. I will then describe the questions and potential methods our group will use to explore deep brain stimulation using monopolar anodic stimulation.

NEC Seminar, Friday, September 10
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Gabrielle Labrozzi
Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: Exploring the Center of Mass Profiles Using Body-Mounted Sensors for Gait Control.

Abstract: For over a decade, walking remains a priority for restoration in the spinal cord injury (SCI) population. There are different ways researchers assess nominal and pathological gait, including the center of mass (CoM). The CoM is essential in gait stability such that the profiles follow well-defined patterns, and potential falls may transpire when deviations from nominal values occur. When the CoM falls beyond the base of support, able-bodied individuals execute one of two methods to prevent falls from occurring: preserving angular and compromising linear momentum (taking a forward step), or sacrificing angular and conserving linear momentum (rotating the trunk). Previous research in our lab has expanded upon the former method to develop a reactive stepping controller that utilizes the CoM acceleration to improve standing stability. This open-loop controller measures the CoM acceleration from 3 inertial measurement units (IMUs), while a step is triggered in the SCI subject using functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) when applied external perturbations exceeded 30% body weight. Even though this controller successfully triggers a step, reduces upper body effort by 50%, and maintains standing balance, it is restricted to a single step, and balance throughout the swing phase needs to be maintained only by the single limb still in stance. In my research, I plan to apply this reactive-stepping controller towards a CoM-based feedback controller to achieve a dynamically smooth and continuous gait in individuals with SCI. In this morning’s talk, I will address the first steps towards our CoM-based controller and our initial experiments with able-bodied subjects, in which we estimated CoM profiles using body-mounted sensors, and speculate on approaches to ensure stable and dynamic stepping with neural stimulation.

NEC Seminar, Friday, September 3
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Karina Dsouza
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: High DoF Control and Compensatory Motions.

Abstract: The standard of care for upper limb amputees (~3 million worldwide) is single degree of freedom prosthetics. While these prosthetics do restore some functionality, users must still rely on compensatory motions (excessive neck, torso, shoulder movement) in order to pre-position objects, as well as complete daily tasks more quickly and successfully. Unfortunately, compensatory motions can lead to chronic musculoskeletal pain as certain parts of the body are overused and strained. Our lab has previously developed a 4 degree of freedom, simultaneous, proportional and intuitive controller to command advanced prosthetic hands with multi-articulating fingers. I hypothesize that use of this controller, with occupational therapist intervention, may reduce reliance on compensatory motions and consequently reduce the prevalence of injury in upper limb amputees while improving daily task performance.

NEC Seminar, Friday, August 27
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Preethi Bhat
Research Advisor: Prof. Graczyk
Title: Representation of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation-Evoked Neural Activity in the Somatosensory Cortex.

Abstract: Electrical stimulation of neural tissue has the unique capability of providing insight into neural coding while also restoring motor function and sensation for those who have experienced limb loss or spinal cord injury. Having sensation not only makes movements more intuitive and accurate, but also strengthens emotional connection. One promising avenue for supplying sensation to individuals with impairments is via peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS). Ideally, PNS should reproduce the natural neural code. However, there is a knowledge gap in understanding the downstream cortical effects of PNS. To address this challenge, I aim to examine intracortical neural recordings from PNS to understand how electrical stimulation of sensory nerve fibers is represented in the brain.

NEC Seminar, Friday, August 20
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Brett Campbell
Advisor: Kenneth Baker, PhD
Title: Programming Deep Brain Stimulation of the Dentate Nucleus of the Cerebellum for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation.

Abstract: Our lab is investigating the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the dentate nucleus of the cerebellum for post-stroke rehabilitation in a phase 1 clinical trial. The process of optimizing DBS electrical parameters for therapeutic benefit has been identified as a key challenge due to a lack of acute behavioral feedback that is commonly used in other approved treatment modalities such as movement disorders. We propose the use of DBS - cortical evoked potentials as a means to optimize therapeutic programming. We propose that efficacious (i.e. therapeutic) stimulation settings will produce maximal circuit activation of the dentothalamocortical pathway that can be measured using DBS-cortical evoked potentials. In order to rely upon this metric for the purposes of programming we need to demonstrate stability, reliability, and predictability in the resulting signal. Results suggest that stimulation of the dentate nucleus reliably elicits a cortical evoked potential that is maximal over contralateral frontal recording regions, includes short-latency features that are discernible from stimulus artifact within 5-ms post-stimulation, and persists for several hundred milliseconds thereafter. This response remains consistent across multiple recording sessions over time and the morphology is sensitive to changes in the site of stimulation relative to the DBS lead as well as other observed factors such as patient vigilance. These findings support the feasibility of using DBS-cortical evoked potentials as a means to optimize therapeutic programming.

NEC Seminar, Friday, August 13
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Brianna Hutchison
Advisor: Dr. Ajiboye and Dr. Graczyk
Title: Exploring multiple-location tactile sensation via mechanical and intracortical electrical stimulation.

Abstract: Restoring the sense of touch to people with somatosensory deficits is critical to rehabilitation since we use tactile feedback for everyday activities. When grasping objects, we rely on tactile feedback from multiple fingers to indicate contact with the object and the application of appropriate force to hold the object. People with cervical-level spinal cord injuries (SCIs) often have permanent loss of sensory feedback and motor control of the body; they desire restored arm and hand movement as one of their top priorities. One strategy previously employed to restore sensation to a person with tetraplegia is intracortical microstimulation (ICMS). ICMS applied to the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) has elicited the perception of pressure applied to a single location on the hand. The proposed research plans to build on this foundation by exploring how stimulating through multiple electrodes using ICMS may provide the sense of touch to multiple locations on the hand since grasping requires at least two points of contact. To develop a two-percept stimulation paradigm, the proposed work will explore the cortical representation of multiple-location touch applied to the fingertips of a person with SCI who has intact sensory pathways. Similar work in non-human primates (NHPs) demonstrated dual-site indentation inhibited the firing rate relative to single-site indentation. This research will verify if these neural principles apply to humans. Understanding the intact sensory system will facilitate sensory restoration efforts and advance sensory neuroscience. I will describe current efforts toward my first aim, which will explore the cortical response to touch applied to single and multiple locations. The second aim will evaluate how the perceived sensation of single-electrode intracortical stimulation compares to multiple-electrode stimulation. Since multiple-electrode stimulation may elicit sensation in multiple locations, establishing the perceptual basis of multiple-electrode stimulation will inform development of stimulation paradigms to restore sensory feedback. In the future, our lab will integrate multiple-location sensory feedback into the BCI-FES system to enable more dexterous grasping and object interaction for people with SCIs.

NEC Seminar, Friday, July 30
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Bhanu Prasad Kotamraju
Advisor: Professor Durand
Title: Selective recording in small fascicles with carbon nanotube yarns in chronic rats.
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Abstract: The primary challenge in the field of neural rehabilitation engineering is the limitation in the technology to match the complexity of the neural tissue which doesn’t allow for selective recordings from multiple fascicles from different nerves. The ability to chronically and safely record from multiple fascicles of different nerves simultaneously could have significant implications for the field of neural and rehabilitation engineering. Previous studies have shown Carbon Nanotube Yarns (CNTYs) to be capable of recording from autonomic nerves of small diameter (100-300µm) making them a viable candidate for this study. Furthermore, in a preliminary case study, a peripheral neural interface using CNTY recording from a total of three different fascicles one from the ulnar nerve and two in the radial nerve in the forelimb of a mini pig was presented, and for the first time, we recorded simultaneously from the three different fascicles in multiple nerves acutely. In this study, the chronic recording capabilities of CNTY’s are presented. The electrodes were implanted in the sciatic nerve of rats and their neural activity during gait was recorded. The data are analyzed using information theory showing the superior recording capabilities of the electrodes when compared to the cuff electrode. Selectivity of the signals from these electrodes was also explored using information theory metrics.

NEC Seminar, Friday, July 23
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: John Krall
Advisor: Prof. Ajiboye
Title: Investigating How the Brain Controls Dexterous Movements

Abstract: Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMIs) are capable of returning volitional movement to those with chronic tetraplegia; however, existing human BMIs are limited to controlling only a few of the many degrees of freedom of the arm and hand. Humans have one of the most developed corticospinal tracts of any species, allowing us a great range of dexterous upper limb movements including individuated finger control. However, we know very little about how the brain controls dexterous movement. While the motor cortex is thought to be somatotopically organized, many neurons in motor cortex modulate their firing rate to movements throughout the whole body. How, then, does the brain process commands for each joint without interference? An emerging theory proposes that the brain divides its activity into several low-dimensional state-spaces called “neural manifolds”. Each neural manifold is composed of the joint activity of a population of neurons. Each individual neuron, meanwhile, participates in the formation of several neural manifolds. In this talk, I will present neural data obtained from two human clinical study participants using a BMI to control individual fingers, and will describe my investigation into whether individual fingers are commanded via different neural manifolds.

NEC Seminar, Friday, July 16
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Suzhou Li
Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: Characterizing the Modulation of Reflexes by Electrically-Evoked Plantar Sensation

Abstract: Lower limb sensation can be restored from a lower limb amputee’s missing limb by delivering small electric currents to the remaining peripheral nerves in their residual limb. But, it has yet to be shown if these electrically evoked sensations can be integrated within an individual’s sensorimotor control scheme in a similar manner to naturally occurring sensory input. Reflexes are a mechanism able-bodied individuals utilize to maintain stability while walking. Studies have shown that reflex responses are modulated over the gait cycle and depend on sensory inputs from the lower limbs, one important input being plantar sensation. In my research project, I will characterize how electrically evoked plantar sensation modulates reflex responses as a function of limb loading and phase of gait, and whether this modulation can facilitate stable walking. In my talk, I will describe the experiments I have designed to characterize this effect and share some preliminary data from these experiments.

NEC Seminar, Friday, July 9
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Danny Lam
Advisor: Dr. Shoffstall
Title: Characterizing Platelet Response in Intracortical Microelectrode Induced-Neuroinflammation

Abstract: Implanted intracortical microelectrodes play a vital role in investigating scientific questions within neuroscience and provide an opportunity for rehabilitation and functional restoration for spinal cord injured patients. Unfortunately, the functional lifespan is short-lived, in part due to the prolonged inflammatory response to the foreign material. The inflammatory response is initially triggered by the severing of blood vessels and neurons during the device insertion. This leads to buildup of cellular debris and influx of blood proteins and immune cells which further exacerbates this inflammation. Vascular damage also leads to activation of platelets that site-selectively adhere to vessel walls, promoting leukocyte recruitment and infiltration and regulating endothelial permeability. Platelets are known to play a major role in hemostasis, wound healing and inflammation. To better understand to what degree platelets may influence microelectrode-induced neuroinflammation, we investigated platelet and proteins that influence their aggregation and activation (von Willebrand Factor and fibrinogen) at the implant site for acute (1 week), sub-chronic (4 weeks), and chronic (8 weeks) time points.

NEC Seminar, Friday, June 25
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Presenter: Olivia Krebs
Advisor: Prof. Jeffrey R. Capadona
Title: Multiphoton Microscopy for the Study of IMEs

Abstract: Multiphoton microscopy has been used for intravital imaging of deep tissue structures. This imaging technique allows observation of cellular dynamics (migration, interaction, death, etc.) in intact tissue without inflicting severe damage. The minimal invasivity allows the distinct advantage of imaging the same subject over time. Analysis of intracortical microelectrode performance stands to benefit from multiphoton microscopy. Traditional end-point tissue staining neither offers continuity nor fully captures variability among animal models. A greater understanding of microelectrode integration with cortical tissue would allow for better device failure characterization and new mitigation strategy development. The Capadona lab has recently acquired a Nikon A1R-HD+ Multiphoton system. This presentation will discuss the technology basics, surgical methods for cranial window placement, and upcoming experiments. The planned experiments include validating the use of a surgical drilling robot for rodent craniotomies and determining the effect of implant angle of silicon probes on imaging quality. The experimental design of the proposed studies will be reviewed.

NEC Seminar, Friday, June 11, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Presenter: Kenya Alfaro
Advisor: Dr. A. Bolu Ajiboye
Title: Integration of Somatosensory Feedback using Intracortical Microstimulation.

Abstract: Persons with tetraplegia have complete loss of movement in all four limbs and partial or complete loss of somatosensory feedback below the level of injury. An intracortical brain-machine interface (iBMI) has been used to restore movement in the participant’s arm. There are two limitations with this system: 1. it only decodes movement-related motor commands, while object interactions require force control; and 2. the participant relies exclusively on visual feedback to adjust the system. Restoring the ability to manipulate objects requires the ability to decode force-related motor commands and to provide somatosensory feedback to adjust the system. Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) of the somatosensory cortex has been shown to restore sensation to persons with tetraplegia. Our lab has implanted two 64-channel microelectrode arrays in the somatosensory cortex of a person with tetraplegia. Preliminary experiments determined the projected fields of each electrode and the relationship between stimulation pulse amplitude and perceived intensity. The first experiment demonstrated that Array 1 (1-64 channels) evokes sensation on the tip portion of the index finger, and Array 2 (65-128 channels) evokes sensation on the palmer side of the ring finger. The second experiment showed that the relationship between pulse amplitude and perceived intensity was not uniform across all electrodes and the detection of sensation for pulse amplitudes larger than the threshold was not consistent. To improve the reliability of controlling perceived intensity with ICMS and to increase the number of discriminable levels of intensity, we are designing a sensory learning experiment to train the participant to associate pulse amplitude with attempted force production and visual feedback. Improving the discriminability of perceived intensity will aid the participant in utilization of a future closed-loop, force-controlled iBMI system.

NEC Seminar, Friday, June 4, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Presenter: Jay Shiralkar
Advisor: Professor Dominique M. Durand
Title: Autonomic neural activity of solid tumors and its implications on immune system.

Abstract: Breast cancer remains a leading cause of cancer related death. Breast cancer is not a homogenous disease but a group of multifarious subtypes classified based on the expression of cell surface receptors, where triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive cancer are two of the most invasive subtypes. It has been reported that nerve fibers are correlated with high malignancy and their diameters progress with progressing clinical grade. Further, autonomic nervous system is found be a regulator of major physiological events in the tumor microenvironment (TME) of solid carcinomas. The primary purpose of this study is to record neural activity from TNBC as well as HER2-positive tumors and identify its autonomic component by branch specificity, eventually to analyze physiological markers involved in the onset of neural activity. We have performed electrical recordings from TNBC as well as HER2-positive tumors developed by 4T1 and MMTV-neuT cell lines respectively. In vivo monitoring of tumor growth and metastasis has been performed by bioluminescent imaging. To isolate the neural patterns of specific branch of autonomic nervous system, complete sub-diaphragmatic vagotomy and 6-hydroxydopamine mediated chemical sympathectomy has been conducted. Post the study, for confirming the presence of nerve fibers as well as the success of experimental protocols, histological analysis has been performed. Gene set enrichment analysis has been performed to find upregulated genetic pathways on neural peak activity day. The results indicate that both the types of breast cancer are characterized by similar patterns in neural activity with two distinct peaks, with the higher magnitude of neural spikes in peaks in HER2-positive tumors. Also, the origin of neural activity in both the cancer types lies in the peripheral noradrenergic sympathetic nerves. Also, in gene ontology analysis, multiple genetic pathways associated with innate as well as adaptive immunity were found upregulated on the neural peak activity day. The outcomes of the study can be used to explore the mechanisms of tumor growth and metastasis and the link between the autonomic nervous system and the tumor. Further, by finding modulated genetic expressions on the peak activity day, novel genetic markers can be developed correlated with neural peak activity in clinical practice.

NEC Seminar, Friday, May 28, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Prof. Cameron McIntyre
Title: Reflections on nearly 30 years with CWRU

Abstract:A brief summary of how the university shaped me, and some ideas on what I'd like to work on next.

APT-CCF Distinguished Lecture Series
Friday May 21st, 2021 (Virtual): 11a-12p EST, via Microsoft Teams meeting
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639280356@t.plcm.vc
Video Conference ID:119 727 890 7
Title: Polymer-based Microfabricated Implants
Speaker: Ellis Meng, PhD, Professor Departments of Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory, University of Southern California http://biomems.usc.edu
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Friday, May 14th, 2021 BME virtual seminar will be presented
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, via Microsoft Teams meeting
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Link: Download Microsoft Teams meeting App
Speaker: Shannon L Wallace, MD, Ob/Gyn &Women's Health Institute, Subspecialty Care for Women's Health
Title: Modulating Bladder Function With Light: The Application of Optogenetics to the Urinary System

NEC Seminar, Friday, May 11, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 967 0868 8287
Passcode: 156681
Speaker: Britton Sauerbrei, PhD CV || Flier
Title: Neural Population Dynamics for Skilled Motor Control
Publication Link: Cortical pattern generation during dexterous movement is input-driven | Nature

Abstract: The ability to reach, grasp, and manipulate objects is a remarkable expression of motor skill, and the loss of this ability in injury, stroke, or disease can be devastating. These behaviors are controlled by the coordinated activity of tens of millions of neurons distributed across many CNS regions, including the primary motor cortex. While many studies have characterized the activity of single cortical neurons during reaching, the principles governing the dynamics of large, distributed neural populations remain largely unknown. Recent work in primates has suggested that during the execution of reaching, motor cortex may autonomously generate the neural pattern controlling the movement, much like the spinal central pattern generator for locomotion. In this seminar, I will describe recent work that tests this hypothesis using large-scale neural recording, high-resolution behavioral measurements, dynamical systems approaches to data analysis, and optogenetic perturbations in mice. We find, by contrast, that motor cortex requires strong, continuous, and time-varying thalamic input to generate the neural pattern driving reaching. In a second line of work, we demonstrate that the cortico-cerebellar loop is not critical for driving the arm towards the target, but instead fine-tunes movement parameters to enable precise and accurate behavior. Finally, I will describe my future plans to apply these experimental and analytical approaches to the adaptive control of locomotion in complex environments.

NEC Seminar, Friday, May 7, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495
Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Kelsey Bower
Research Advisor: Prof. McIntyre
Title: Quantifying sources of variation in electrode localization methods for deep brain stimulation modeling

Abstract: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a proven therapy for the motor symptoms of late-stage Parkinson's disease (PD). However, despite several randomized studies demonstrating the efficacy of DBS for PD, variation across clinical outcomes is common. Patient-specific computational modeling is a valuable tool for interpreting the clinical response to DBS and understanding the inconsistency in therapeutic efficacy across individuals. DBS models use medical images to define the electrode location within the patient's brain and simulate the resulting biophysical effects of the DBS stimulus on surrounding neural tissues. These approaches have shown some promise in identifying global trends in clinical outcomes, yet models have had limited success predicting clinical outcomes on an individual basis. We propose that uncertainty in the electrode location may account for some of the uncaptured variability in clinical DBS outcomes. The model-generation process includes multiple manual and semi-automatic steps in which unmeasured variation in electrode location can occur. In this study, we aim to quantify these potential sources of variation in order to understand how methodological approaches individually contribute to variability in electrode location. Typical image-based electrode localization methods were employed to obtain contact coordinates of 20 DBS electrodes. Electrodes were localized multiple times using different combinations of registration masking and contact identification methods. Sources of intrasubject variability in contact coordinates were explored and interobserver agreement was quantified.

NEC Seminar, Friday, April 30, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Joseph Marmerstein
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Chronic Recording of Spontaneous Vagal Activity in Rats

Abstract: The autonomic nervous system is a vital part of regulating homeostasis and overall health. The vagus nerve is the largest autonomic nerve, serving to both sense and control internal organ function. "Vagal tone" is a clinical measure presumed to indicate overall levels of vagal activity. While low vagal tone has been associated with many conditions such as diabetes, heart failure and hypertension, it has so far only been measured indirectly through heart rate variability (HRV). HRV, despite its clinical relevance, likely represents primarily efferent vagal activity. However, as many as 80% of the fibers in the vagus are afferent, with a majority coming from the gut. Thus, a greater analysis of the behavior of afferent vagal fibers and their impact on chronic health and disease is important to develop a more complete understanding of vagal behavior. In this study, vagal tone recorded from the vagus nerve in rats was compared to HRV, and spontaneous spiking activity was used to classify basic animal behaviors.

NEC Seminar, Friday, April 16, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Jessica de Abreau
Advisor: Prof. Robert Kirsch
Title: Reinforcement Learning for Control of a Fatiguable Arm Model to Reverse Paralysis Following Spinal Cord Injury

Abstract: Paralysis due to spinal cord injury may lead to severely decreased independence and quality of life. Functional electrical stimulation of the peripheral nerves can be used to restore motor function to paralyzed limbs. However, chronically paralyzed muscles experience high levels of atrophy and fatigability, which may challenge FES controllers. Here, we implemented a fatigable model of the arm to investigate the feasibility of using reinforcement learning to train deep neural networks to control upper-limb FES systems. We explored the impact of muscle atrophy, muscle fatigability, and controller training strategies on controller performance and learning rates. Also, we investigated if alternating periods of resting and training can be used to overcome challenges posed by fatigable muscles. Our results suggest that deep neural networks trained with reinforcement learning can be successfully used to control upper-limb FES systems.

NEC Seminar, Friday, April 9, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Leah Marie Roldan
Research Advisor: Prof Tyler
Title: Tactile percept integration for object feature encoding

Abstract: Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (FINEs and CFINEs) and spiral cuff electrodes have been successfully implanted in four upper limb amputees, providing these subjects with somatosensory feedback that feels as though it is their own hand and arm. Research has provided an understanding of the relationship between stimulation paradigms and the perceived sensation at a single point of perception, such as the index fingertip, at a time. However, touch requires the integration of sensations across the finger and hand for applications such as object recognition (stereognosis) and improved manual dexterity. Edges in particular relay information about object shape and orientation, and rely on spatial and temporal patterns of activation in the peripheral nerves for encoding. To begin exploring spatial activation for feature encoding, we first need to understand the axon populations recruited by each contact when stimulating through the FINE. This requires an understanding of the degree of recruitment overlap when stimulating between multiple contacts. Computational models have shown that stimulating with two adjacent contacts recruits different axon populations. But experimentally, adjacent contacts are reported by the subjects to be perceptually equivalent. Refractory stimulation techniques were therefore adapted to study the axon populations recruited during multi-contact stimulation, and preliminary results support the use of this method to evaluate recruitment overlap when studying perceived tactile feedback. I will also briefly introduce next steps to explore temporal activation during multi-contact stimulation, specifically how pulse amplitude and pulse frequency modulation affect percept integration.

NEC Seminar, Friday, April 2
9:00 AM, Via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Title: A Very Brief Introduction to the Immune System and Inflammation
Speaker:Sydney Song
Research Advisor: Prof. Capadona

Abstract: This talk will be on the very basics concepts of the immune system and inflammation. Topics include what are the molecular and cellular players of the immune system, how they recognize pathogens and of damaged cells, how they communicate with each other, and how they function to eliminate unwanted pathogens and damaged cells. The interaction between the immune system and the biomaterials, such as intracortically implanted microelectrodes, will also be briefly discussed.

NEC Seminar, Friday, March 26
9:00 AM, Via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Title: Antioxidants to Mitigate Oxidative Damage to Intracortical Microelectrodes and Neural Tissue
Presenter: George Hoeferlin
Advisor: Prof. Capadona

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes are used to explore neurological disorders, rehabilitate spinal cord injury, and provide information about the brain. Unfortunately, these electrodes tend to fail within months to years, as characterized by a loss in recorded signal quality. When implanted in the brain, the body recognizes the microelectrode as a foreign body, and attempts to reject it. A key aspect of this biological response is oxidative stress as a result of reactive oxygen species production, causing damage to neural tissue and the microelectrode itself. Previous work has shown the beneficial effect of the antioxidant, Resveratrol, on improving neural health and microelectrode functionality. In the current study, the antioxidant dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is explored to quantify its beneficial properties on intracortical microelectrode performance. An FDA-approved drug for treating multiple sclerosis, dimethyl fumarate offers strong antioxidative and anti-inflammatory therapeutic effects in the brain and central nervous system. DMF was administered orally to 12 rats daily for the course of 16 weeks, with 12 control rats receiving drug vehicle. All were implanted with a Neuronexus, single shank 16-channel intracortical microelectrode in the right primary motor cortex and recordings were taken twice a week. Currently, data is being processed to reveal the beneficial effects of DMF on recording performance and neural health. Part of this seminar will also cover our new Leica Bond RX automatic slide stainer for departmental use.

Neurosciences Special Seminar, Tuesday, March 23, 2021
11:00 a.m. (Eastern), via Zoom
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The link will be active 15 minutes prior to the event. You must be signed in to a Zoom account to access the event. This seminar will not be recorded. All are welcome to attend.
Meeting ID: 921 7657 7943 Passcode: 616894
Speaker: Murat Yildirim, PhD Picower Institute for Learning and Memory Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Title: Cracking Brain Complexity through Multiphoton Microscopy

Abstract: Two-photon microscopy has become the workhorse of tissue imaging in the life sciences, particularly in neuroscience, where it is used to perform high-resolution, structural and functional brain imaging and stimulation in various biological systems and models. However, two-photon microscopy has severe limitations for deep brain imaging due to absorption and scattering at greater depths, as well as photodamage and toxicity accompanying higher laser power at the brain surface. Therefore, imaging and stimulating neuronal populations in deep cortical and subcortical areas with two-photon microscopy is challenging. In this talk, I will discuss the design, and implementation of three-photon microscopy for performing high-resolution, damage-free, and deep-tissue imaging for neuroscience applications. In the first part of my talk, I will describe the design and optimization of a three-photon microscope for in vivo, damage-free imaging at a sub-cellular resolution in deep layers of the cerebral cortex in awake mice. Specifically, I will demonstrate the application of the microscope for imaging structural features and functional evoked calcium responses of neurons through the entire cerebral cortex down to the subplate of primary visual cortex in awake mice. In the second part of my talk, I will present a label-free three-photon imaging technique which enables us to show a strong relationship between structural substrates of visual cortical areas and their functional representation maps in awake mice. In the last part of my talk, I will demonstrate the use of label-free three-photon microscopy to perform high-resolution deep-tissue imaging in intact cerebral organoids specifically for assessing the key components of early neurogenesis in Rett syndrome. Collectively, our custom-made multiphoton technologies are next-generation imaging tools enabling unprecedented access to the complexities of brain function in health and disease.

Biography: Murat Yildirim is currently a research scientist working with Dr. Mriganka Sur and Dr. Peter So at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a PhD degree from UT Austin and he received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from Middle East Technical University in Turkey, all in Mechanical Engineering. His current research interests are developing next generation multiphoton systems to study the structure and function of the brain with various biological systems and models spanning from cerebral organoids, to small animals, to humans through their interaction with femtosecond laser pulses for the diagnosis, characterization, and treatment of specific brain disorders to positively impact human mental health. He recently received a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) from NIBIB. He is a member of SPIE, OSA, and SfN.

MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute Research Meeting
Mar 17, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 924 075 9689
Passcode: MHRI
Presenter: Dominique M. Durand, EL Lindseth Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University
Topic: Chronic Interface with the Vagus Nerve
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Presentation of interest to Neural Engineers
You might be interested in these two previously recorded presentations by Dustin Tyler at the Origins Institute of CWRU.
Human Machine Relationship in the present
Human Machine Relationship Engineering the future

NEC Seminar, Friday, March 12
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Nabeel Chowdhury
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: Subcortical Sensorimotor Integration Loops Augment Grip Force Throughout Manipulation

Abstract: Tactile feedback is necessary for the intuitive manipulation of objects during functional tasks. Without tactile feedback, usually sight must be substituted for the estimation of force and position of the hand on objects which often results in poor performance. The sensorimotor integration of artificially generated tactile feedback with natural motor signals may result in much better performance during manipulation tasks. Sensorimotor integration using natural tactile feedback to control grip force during manipulation occurs at multiple levels above and below the conscious perception of touch. The minute changes in grip mostly occur through pathways below the conscious level of perception of touch. One such pathway is through sensorimotor integration in the cerebellum. In fact, robotic systems using model cerebella can learn to perform manipulation tasks on their own. Previous results suggest that artificial tactile feedback is used in the preconscious pathways of the central nervous system, but it is not known if one of those pathways involves the cerebellum. If so, it may be possible for artificially generated tactile feedback from peripheral nerve stimulation to be used at the cerebellar level to create motor corrections during manipulation tasks. In order to test this with transradial amputees, the typical velocity based EMG controller for prostheses must be converted to a force based controller and the force on the fingertips of the prosthesis must be converted to peripheral nerve stimulation. This presentation covers a simple PID controller approach as well as an adaptive filter model of the cerebellum for a force controller that may be possible using EMG or signals from the motor cortex.

Presentation of interest to Neural Engineers
Friday 12pm EST/9am PST.
Presenter:Tim Denison
Title: Designing a "Digital Zeitgeber" à Integrating chronotherapy into adaptive neurostimulation devices, including case studies from cardiac pacemakers* and the Picostom-DyNeuMo Research Tool (*cardiac pacemakers may not be as "closed-loop" as you think)
Zoom Link

NEC Seminar, Friday, March 5
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Hendrik Dewald
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: Peripheral Nerve Block for Stroke: Nerve Conduction Evaluations Using Erb's Point Stimulations

Abstract: Individuals with chronic, hemiparetic stroke often suffer long-term disability from a loss of independent joint control. Of particular concern is the presence of the flexion synergy in the impaired upper limb, through which shoulder abduction becomes coupled with simultaneous flexion at the elbow, wrist, and fingers. My work is aimed at determining the potential efficacy of nerve blocks of the median and ulnar nerve in reducing this flexion bias, possibly opening the door for an FES block-based intervention in the future. To make this determination of efficacy, we chose to measure grip force and hand aperture area before and after application of a local peripheral chemical nerve block, ropivacaine, to the median and/or ulnar nerve. However, it is vital that we quantify the success of the chemical nerve block outside of its impact on hand function in stroke, and it is for this purpose that we measure nerve conduction through recording of a Compound Muscle Action Potential (CMAP) response to electrical stimulation of Erb's Point. In this talk, I will briefly discuss the scope of my work before predominantly discussing the useful diagnostic tool that is the CMAP, it's biological underpinnings, and what I've learned from my attempts at eliciting it at Erb's Point.

First Tuesdays Virtual Seminars
March 2, 4:30 PM
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Passcode: 123456
Speaker: Andrew Pieper, MD, PhD
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Presentation of interest to Neural Engineers
Presenter: Christos H. Papadimitriou, Columbia University
Title: "Language, Brain, and Computation"
Talk Link

Abstract: How does the brain beget the mind? How do molecules, cells and synapses effect reasoning, intelligence, language? Despite dazzling progress in experimental neuroscience, as well as in cognitive science at the other extreme of scale, we do not seem to be making progress in the overarching question -- the gap is huge and a completely new approach seems to be required. As Richard Axel recently put it: "We don't have a logic for the transformation of neural activity into thought [...]."
What kind of formal system would qualify as this "logic"?
I will introduce the Assembly Calculus, a computational system whose basic data structure is the assembly -- assemblies are large populations of neurons representing concepts, words, ideas, episodes, etc., and which is biologically plausible in the following two orthogonal senses: Its primitives are properties of assemblies observed in experiments, and can be provably (through both mathematical proof and simulations) "compiled down" to the activity of neurons and synapses. I will also explain why the Assembly Calculus is especially useful in exploring how language happens in the brain.

NEC Seminar, Friday, February 26
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Aidan Friederich
Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: Feedback Control of Upright Seating with Functional Neuromuscular Stimulation during a Functional Task

Abstract: Seated stability is a major concern of individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI). Current methods to improve stability restrict the movement of the user by constraining their trunk to an upright position. Feedback control of functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) can help maintain seated stability while still allowing the user to perform movements to accomplish functional tasks. In this study, five individuals with a SCI and an implanted stimulator capable of recruiting trunk and hip musculature unilaterally moved a weighted jar on a countertop to and from three prescribed stations directly in front, laterally, and across midline. For comparison, the tasks were performed with no stimulation and with feedback modulated stimulation based on the tilt of the trunk obtained from an external accelerometer fed into two PID controllers; one for forward trunk pitch and the other for lateral roll. The trunk pitch and roll angles were obtained through motion capture cameras. In this talk we will discuss various measures of postural sway and variance to examine the impact of feedback modulated stimulation on trunk movement.

NEC Seminar, Friday, February 12
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Ryan Reyes
Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: Biologically Inspired Iterative Learning Control for Gait Restoration with a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis

Abstract: Our lab is developing a "Muscle First" Motor-Assisted Hybrid Neuroprosthesis (MAHNP), which combines a backdrivable exoskeletal brace with neural stimulation technology to enable persons with paraplegia due to spinal cord injury (SCI) to perform ambulatory motions. The primary purpose of this study is to design a "muscle first" paradigm in which the neural stimulation activates the leg muscles to generate the majority of the forces required for walking in the system. The muscle-driven motion is coordinated with the motorized exoskeletal bracing, where the motors inject additional power to the system to ensure stability and to correct stepping motions. In contrast, conventional commercially available exoskeletons cannot utilize muscle-driven movement due to having non-backdrivable, mechanically inefficient transmissions, and therefore depend on external motors at the joints for all ambulatory motion. Preliminary results from walking in the device with two SCI subjects will be shown, demonstrating the effect of motorized compensation for passive resistance at the knee and hip joints, as well as the efficacy of a simple biologically inspired burst assistance from the brace motors. The latter half of this presentation will discuss initial results of swing-leg simulations created with the OpenSim biomechanical modeling suite that utilize iterative learning control (ILC) to extend the biologically inspired burst assistance with the ability to learn and improve control performance to accomplish safe, consistent stepping.

NEC Seminar, Friday Feb 5
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Cale Crowder
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: Reinforcement Learning for Control of a Multi-Input, Multi-Output Musculoskeletal Model of the Human Arm

Abstract: People with cervical spinal cord injuries frequently experience paralysis of the upper limb, resulting in decreased independence and quality of life. In some cases, functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the neuromuscular system can be used to restore motor function. However, in order to produce functional movements, appropriate electrical stimulation patterns must be selected by a controller. Throughout this talk, we will discuss some of the control engineering principles that must be considered when designing controllers for FES systems. Additionally, we will demonstrate that a controller trained using reinforcement learning is capable of moving a simple multi-input, multi-output model of the human arm to targets that are spawned continuously in a given workspace. In the future, we hope reinforcement learning controllers for FES systems will help people with paralysis regain motor control.

Neural Engineering Seminar
Presenter: Dominique Durand
Date: 1/30/2021
Title: Low Frequency Fiber tract stimulation for seizure control.
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Cleveland Clinic BME virtual seminar
Presenter: Dr. Dominique Durand, CWRU
Title: Fiber Tract Stimulation at Low Frequency to Control Seizures
Friday 1/28/2021 at 11:00 EST
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NEC Seminar, Friday, Jan 29, 2021
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Kristen Gelenitis
Research Advisor: Dr. Ronald Triolo
Title: Improving stimulation-induced exercise performance after paralysis

Abstract: Exercise after paralysis is crucial for combating secondary health complications and maintaining quality of life. Neural stimulation-driven exercise systems enable participants to involve their paralyzed musculature for a more complete workout. However, workout durations and intensities are limited by rapidly induced muscle fatigue, which subsequently limits the physiological benefits gained from these systems. The primary purpose of this study is to maximize work performed by people with paralysis within each session of stimulation-driven exercise. To that end, we are investigating several interventions that adjust the type of stimulation delivered. One intervention optimizes stimulus level to reduce activated fiber overlap among stimulating electrodes and prevent unnecessary increases in firing frequency. Another intervention uses a carousel pattern to reduce duty cycle, allowing some fibers to rest and recover while others produce the required contractions. A third intervention uses functional feedback to control stimulus levels in order to extend maintenance of a mid-level exercise intensity. Preliminary results from implementing these strategies, and various combinations thereof, with five participants with paralysis will be presented for discussion and feedback.

NEC Seminar, Friday, January 22
9:00 AM, via Zoom
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Meeting ID: 928 0482 8495 Passcode: 185518
Speaker: Tyler Johnson
Research Advisor: Dawn Taylor
Title: Creating an Efficient Neural Data Analysis Program Using MatLab's App Designer

Abstract: MatLab's App Designer provides a powerful utility to develop custom GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) using only MatLab coding. To assist me with my main research goals, I have used this functionality to develop a tool for analyzing neural data in an efficient, customizable, and user-friendly way. In the current version, my program can reorder channels, filter data, remove bad channels, remove artifacts and common noise, re-reference the data, detect spikes, and sort spikes with or without supervision. My hope is that this discussion will illustrate the general process for program creation using the app designer while also elaborating on practices for large data handling and general neural data analysis methods.

2020

Friday, December 11, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Kelsey Bower
Research Advisor: Prof. Cameron McIntyre
Title: Quantifying neural recruitment at various target locations for subthalamic deep brain stimulation

Abstract: Deep brain stimulation is an approved therapy for treating the motor symptoms of late-stage Parkinson's disease (PD). However, despite decades of clinical success, a definitive understanding of its therapeutic mechanism of action remains elusive. While the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is widely accepted as the most common anatomical target for DBS in PD, small differences in electrode location can result in highly variable clinical outcomes, and in some cases can even require a revision surgery to move the electrode to a more effective location. Numerous studies have attempted to identify a clinically optimal anatomical target for DBS electrodes using probabilistic population analyses, yet few have directly considered the neural anatomy recruited by electrodes at those anatomical "hotspots". In this study, we identified unique neural recruitment profiles at three different subthalamic locations.

Friday, November 13, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Sedona Cady
Research Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: A Framework for Neural Information Content in Electrically Activated Sensation

Abstract: Individuals with upper limb amputations cannot feel touch distal to the amputation location. The Tyler lab has shown that stimulating peripheral nerves that once innervated the amputated hand can successfully restore tactile sensation in upper limb amputees. An ideal stimulation paradigm would convey multiple dimensions of touch information, providing a rich and diverse tactile experience. Although previous work revealed the ability to stimulate different types of sensation qualities, such as 'pressure' and 'vibration,' we cannot reliably control these stimulated touch qualities. Further, we do not understand the extent of percepts that can be elicited with electrical stimulation. In an attempt to systematically determine the capacity of peripheral nerve stimulation to convey multiple touch dimensions, we can quantify neural information content in peripheral axon spike timing. Previous studies have shown that different modes of natural touch convey differing amounts of information contained in peripheral spike trains, but it is unclear how electrical stimulation paradigms affect neural information content. Stimulation paradigms that mimic natural neurophysiology may contain differing amounts of information compared to standard stimulation paradigms. The purpose of this presentation is to propose a method to optimize a stimulation paradigm that maximizes neural information content contained in activated nerve axons. Additionally, this presentation will provide background about Shannon Information Theory and how its principles relate to analyzing neural encoding in peripheral nerve stimulation.

Friday, November 6, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Kenya Alfaro
Research Advisor: A. Bolu Ajiboye, PhD
Title: Integration of Somatosensory Feedback to the Kinetic-Controlled Motor Restoration System using Intracortical Brain Computer Interfaces

Abstract: Persons with tetraplegia have a complete loss of motor function in all four limbs and often impaired sensation in the part of body below the level of injury. As a result of their injury, this population experiences loss of independence due to their inability to perform basic motor tasks including object manipulation. A previous accomplishment achieved in my lab was restoring the ability control their own arm to produce movements to a person with tetraplegia. This was accomplished using an iBCI and FES systems to record the neural data in the primary motor cortex, process and decode the information, and apply coordinated stimulation to the persons arm to produce the movement. The neural information collect was based on kinematic (movement-related) data and therefore the decoder created was a velocity and direction decoder which is important for reaching tasks. Granted, kinematic data could contribute to object manipulation however, kinetic (force-related) neural information would be more valuable because user adjusted force could atone for slippage, weight, and breaking point of the object. Integration of somatosensory feedback would allow the user to adjust the force applied during force-grasp tasks and also implement another feedback system besides visual feedback. My project aims to develop a bidirectional iBCI system with two intracortical microelectrodes located in the primary motor cortex and primary somatosensory cortex to record and stimulate at these areas, respectively. I hypothesize that implementing a bidirectional iBCI system that utilizes a kinetic decoder and somatosensory feedback will improve the patient's execution of motor tasks compared to a kinematic iBCI system with only visual feedback.

Friday, October 30, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Brett Campbell
Research Advisor: Kenneth Baker, PhD
Title: The role of deep brain stimulation-evoked cortical potentials in guiding therapeutic programming

Abstract: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has the potential to provide life-changing relief for people who have exhausted more traditional therapeutic options for treating neurologic or psychiatric disease. However, a common dilemma faced by clinicians in their efforts to treat patients with Parkinson's disease using deep brain stimulation (DBS) is balancing treatment-related benefits with the risk of side-effects, including common but subtle stimulation-induced cognitive deficits that are likely to go unnoticed during the relatively brief programming appointment. There remains a clear need for a biomarker indicative of therapeutic efficacy and motor outcomes that can facilitate the programming process to improve outcomes and minimize side effects. We propose the use of DBS — evoked cortical potentials as a possible metric of establishing a biomarker of therapeutic efficacy through the classification of patterns of evoked neural activity in motor and sensorimotor cortical regions. Through our preclinical model of Parkinson's disease we explore the stability of these evoked cortical signals and their relationship to therapeutic and non-therapeutic stimulation parameters across relevant cortical regions in a progressing Parkinson's disease model. Findings suggest that we can reproduce a stable evoked cortical response in the motor cortex associated with therapeutic efficacy that is responsive to disease progression. These findings demonstrate feasibility of DBS-evoked cortical potentials as a possible tool in guiding therapeutic programming.

Friday, October 23, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Muthumeenakshi Subramanian
Research Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Non-synaptic Propagation of Epileptiform Activity by Electric Field coupling.

Abstract: Endogenous weak electric fields can modulate neural activity in the hippocampus and cortex. Electric field coupling has been shown to be responsible for non-synaptic neural activity propagation without using synaptic transmission and gap junctions, at speeds significantly different from ionic diffusion and axonal conduction values. Epileptiform and slow-wave sleep activity propagate by electric field coupling at speeds of ~0.1 m/s in vitro. We tested the hypothesis that epileptiform activity can propagate non synaptically in vivo by electric field coupling. A complete transection was made in the hippocampus between the electrodes to study the propagation of interictal spikes and seizure events induced by 4-aminopyridine. Results show that they propagated across the transection at a constant speed at ~0.1 m/s, characteristic of electric field coupling. Furthermore, we also investigated other characteristics, the interictal spikes with high amplitude and low duration had a high probability to propagate through the cut. The results of the study show that the propagation of neural activity by electric field coupling can take place in vivo for the first time and this phenomenon could explain the recurrence of seizure events following multiple transection surgeries.

Friday, October 9, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Presenter: Brianna Hutchison
Mentor: Dr. A. Bolu Ajiboye
Title: Characterizing the Intracortical Representation of Multi-Location Mechanical and Electrical Stimulation to Restore the Sense of Touch to People with Spinal Cord Injury

Abstract: Cutting-edge human computer interfacing technology and neuroscience combine to provide people with paralysis the ability to interact with the world. In 2017, our lab restored motor function of the upper limb to a person with tetraplegia (paralysis) using a brain computer interface (BCI) to decode motor commands and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system to activate the muscles. A major limitation of this and similar neuroprosthetic systems is the absence of sensory feedback. For people with high-level spinal cord injury, sensory perceptions may be restored through intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). ICMS uses electrical current to activate neurons to elicit the perception of touch. All prior tests in this new investigational area have focused on illuminating the perception response, rather than quantifying the neural response to stimulation associated with these percepts. Also, the vast majority of studies have focused on responses to single perceived locations elicited by ICMS and mechanical touch in the periphery. We do not fully understand the effects of stimulation through multiple electrode contacts simultaneously. A better understanding of the cortical response to multi-location peripheral touch, as well as the response to multi-electrode ICMS, may better illuminate mechanisms of S1 information encoding of somatosensory information leading to development of better bi-direction FES+BCI systems. Research Goals: My research will start by examining the sensory neural response to touch in one location and compare that response to touch in multiple locations. Examining the natural sensory pathways will help us develop intuitive sensory feedback paradigms. I will then examine the sensory neural response to ICMS via single and multiple electrode contacts. The knowledge gained will help us integrate multi-location ICMS into the BCI and FES system. Our team will provide multi-location sensory feedback and motor control to the limbs of paralyzed people, enabling them to do everyday tasks independently. Significance: This research will provide sensory feedback to multiple fingertips to allow people with spinal cord damage along sensory pathways to feel their environment, dramatically improving quality of life. The sense of touch is crucial for dexterous object interaction. We use touch to tie our shoes, to interact with spoons to feed ourselves, and to hold fragile objects like someone else's hand. Insights about intact sensory pathways will help all people with sensory deficits. Understanding the effects of electrical stimulation in the brain will be invaluable to improve the design of stimulation paradigms to restore sensation to these individuals.

Friday, October 2, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Presenter: Olivia Krebs
Research Advisor: Prof. Jeffrey Capadona
Title: Intracortical Microelectrode Coating for the Mitigation of Oxidative Stress

Abstract: The use of intracortical microelectrodes (IMEs) to chronically interface with the central nervous system presents significant potential for the development of therapies and efforts to elucidate brain function. Currently, implanted IMEs undergo significant performance decline within short timeframes, posing a hurdle in achieving this potential. The untimely failure is attributed to the foreign body response to the implant. A destructive aspect of the body's response is the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which both damage cells and act as signaling molecules that perpetuate neuroinflammation. The Capadona lab has developed a surface coating for IMEs that immobilizes a ROS scavenging enzyme mimetic to the substrate surface of the microelectrode array. In mitigating the oxidative stress associated with initial implantation and chronic residence in the body, the coating is hypothesized to improve the integration of IMEs with brain tissue and prolong device performance. This presentation will review the state of the project, namely efforts to adopt past procedures to functional devices and to describe upcoming experiments.

Friday, September 18, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Presenter: Diego Ghezzi, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medtronic Chair in Neuroengineering

Center for Neuroprosthetics and Institute of Bioengineering
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Ch. des Mines 9, CH-1202 Genève, Switzerland

Title: Wireless photovoltaic neuroprostheses for artificial vision

Abstract: Neural prostheses are devices integrated with the neural tissue for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, such as restoring impaired or lost functions. Despite a large variety of devices exists, a shared future is the presence of cables connecting the electrode-tissue interface to implantable electronic circuits for signal management. On the other hand, the scientific research is progressing towards wireless stimulating electrodes, which are highly desirable.

Retinal implants are a particular category of neural prostheses, in which wireless neuronal stimulation was achieved thanks to photovoltaic technology, that also avoids the need for active implantable electronic units. In the case of retinal stimulation, photovoltaic technology is intuitive since the retina is made to absorb light entering from the pupil. Although photovoltaic retinal prostheses do not work with ambient light, electrical stimulation is triggered by artificial light projected into the pupil and absorbed by semiconductor elements embedded into the stimulating pixels. This solution allows retinal prostheses to avoid a transscleral flat cable which limits the maximum number of stimulating pixels on the device and induce post-operative complications such as eye inflammation or leakage through the incision.

In the first part of this talk, the development and validation in-vitro and in-vivo of a wide-field, photovoltaic, and injectable retinal prosthesis will be reported. In the second part of the talk, a novel visual prosthesis based on intra-neural stimulation of the optic nerve will be described. The results from our in-vivo preclinical trial in large animals will be presented.

In conclusion, the use of photovoltaic technology to design novel neuroprostheses will be highlighted.

Friday, September 11, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Jay Shiralkar
Advisor: Dominique Durand
Title: Neural connection between the autonomic nervous system and breast tumor.

Objective: Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in US women. 12-17 % of cases are triple negative breast cancers and therefore very difficult to treat. It has been reported that metastatic (malignant) tumors are densely innervated by nerve fibers compared to non-metastatic and benign tumors, particularly with advancing clinical grades. Various studies have shown that the autonomic nervous system is involved in the development of solid tumors but the neural activity in the tumor has not yet been correlated with the presence of autonomic fibers.

Methods: In this study, electrical recordings have been performed directly from solid tumors of triple negative breast cancer pertaining to 4T1 cell line in Balb/cJ murine model. Using bioluminescence imaging (BLI), tumor growth and metastasis have been tracked. Histological analysis pertaining to immunostaining methods was used to confirm the presence of nerves in tumor tissue. To explore the roles of two branches of autonomic nervous system in neural activity patterns, sub diaphragmatic vagotomy and 6-hydroxydopamine mediated chemical sympathectomy were performed.

Results: The results indicate that the neural activity patterns are correlated with the growth of the primary tumor and metastasis. Two "peaks" of high levels of neural hyperactivity were observed and correlated with metastasis. The neural activity was partially blocked by vagotomy and completely blocked following sympathectomy indicating that nor-adrenergic sympathetic nerves are likely the origin of the recorded signals.

Significance: The outcomes of the study can be used to explore the mechanisms of tumor growth and metastasis and the link between the autonomic nervous system and the tumor. In particular, neural activity in tumor could be used to predict the malignancy and the development stage of the tumor.

Friday, September 4, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Suzhou Li
Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: Sensory neuroprosthesis to reduce the risk of falling for lower limb amputees

Abstract: There are over 1 million people living with lower extremity loss in the US. And annually, over half of them report falling. Stumbling and falling has been studied extensively within able bodied individuals. Upon stumbling, multiple reflex responses are evoked as the initial line of defense for the body to maintain dynamic stability by controlling its center of mass (COM) relative to its center of pressure (COP). Reflex responses are modulated over the gait cycle to respond appropriately to perturbations while walking. Lower limb amputees experience altered reflex responses compared to able bodied individuals partly due to the loss of sensory feedback from their missing joints and feet. Our lab has implanted high density nerve cuff electrode technology around the remaining peripheral nerves to restore meaningful sensation to lower limb amputees. Delivering small electric currents to the nerve through the electrodes' contacts evokes sensations that feel as if they are coming from the amputees' missing limb. Our sensory neuroprosthesis conveys information about the foot-floor interactions to the user by adjusting the neural stimulation based on inputs from the instrumented prosthesis. Recent work in our lab has shown that this sensory neuroprosthesis is important in standing stability and navigating challenging terrain. In this study, we will evaluate if the sensory neuroprosthesis can improve amputees' stumble recovery by evoking the appropriate reflex responses and improving their control of their COM.

Friday, August 28, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Kevin Yang
Advisor: Dr. Shoffstall
Title: Augmenting transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation using the "Injectrode"

Abstract: Peripheral neuromodulation has potential to treat a variety of neurological conditions. However, there is generally a trade-off between neural interface invasiveness with reliability and selectivity. Our lab is exploring a neural interface that is in the middle ground of the spectrum, with the goal of decreasing invasiveness while still achieving effective stimulation. We are developing an injectable electrode, the "Injectrode". It consists of a surgical glue/sealant combined with metal particles to form a "conductive glue". Initially, the material is in a flowable state that can be injected near a targeted nerve. The material will conform around the nerve and cure in place to form a neural interface. Preliminary studies have shown excellent biocompatibility with implantation in rats. We have also demonstrated acute neural activation in rats and pigs (brachial plexus and vagus nerve, respectively). One major next step along our development path consists of a chronic large animal study implementing augmented transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation in pigs. Our main goal is to validate long-term peripheral neuromodulation in a large animal model. Secondary goals are to validate biocompatibility within a large animal model, and to demonstrate the Injectrode can be safely removed from the targeted nerve. We will provide an overview of our progress, as well as solicit feedback from the NEC on our proposed experimental design and approach.

Friday, August 21, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Natalie Mueller
Research Advisors: Dr. Capadona and Dr. Hess-Dunning
Title: Mechanically-softening, antioxidant-eluting neural probes to mitigate intracortical microelectrode failure

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes have a variety of applications, including brain mapping, restoration of function in spinal cord injury and limb loss, and treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. However, they typically fail weeks to months after implantation, resulting in reduced neural recording performance. Failures occurring through the biological pathway are mainly attributed to the neuroinflammatory response, which is propagated by oxidative stress and mechanical mismatch. We have developed a combination approach to target oxidative stress and mechanical mismatch in intracortical microelectrode failure. By utilizing a mechanically-adaptive material loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant, we expect to reduce neuroinflammation and improve recording quality. Preliminary studies have shown promising histological findings, but recording data has not been acquired due to material limitations. Refined microfabrication methods have been developed to support recording electrodes on the mechanically-adaptive substrate. Once the neural probes are fabricated, packaged, and tested, they will be studied in a chronic rodent animal model to evaluate and correlate their effect on recording performance and the neuroinflammatory response.

Friday, August 14, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: John Krall
Research Advisor: Prof. Ajiboye
Title: Neural Population Dynamics During Coordinated Finger Movements

Abstract: Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) can be used in conjunction with an intercortical Brain Computer Interface (iBCI) to restore functional reach and grasp movements to those with tetraplegia. Restoring dexterous, high degree-of-freedom (DoF) movements such as coordinated finger movements with an FES+iBCI system requires a deep understanding of how motor cortex generates output movement commands. Our current understanding of these mechanisms is insufficient to allow for the design of decoders that are robust across time and movement conditions. Traditionally, firing rates of single neurons were thought to encode, or covary with, external movement variables such as reach direction or velocity. This viewpoint can be extended to analyzing populations of neurons, i.e. the coordinated firing rates of hundreds or thousands of neurons covary with specific movement parameters. Recent research challenges this position and posits that activity in the motor cortex doesn't "represent" specific movement parameters but instead constitutes a dynamic system that drives movement. Evidence of a neural dynamic system driving reaches is plentiful; however, little is known about the system that drives finger movements. Analyzing neural activity during coordinated finger movements from the dynamic systems perspective might reveal underlying structure in the behavior of populations of neurons that are hidden when looked at from the representational tuning viewpoint. Knowledge of the underlying structure is needed to inform the design of more sophisticated decoders that can predict intended, high-Dof movements in a robust manner.

Friday, August 7, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Bhanu Prasad Kotamraju
Research Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Selective recording in small fascicles with carbon nanotube yarns

Abstract: The primary challenge in the field of neural rehabilitation engineering is the limitation in the technology to match the complexity of the neural tissue which doesn't allow for selective recordings from multiple fascicles from different nerves. The ability to chronically and safely record from multiple fascicles of different nerves simultaneously could have significant
implications for the field of neural and rehabilitation engineering. Previous studies have shown Carbon Nanotube Yarns (CNTYs) to be capable of recording from autonomic nerves of small diameter (100-300µm) making them a viable candidate for this study. In this preliminary case study, we demonstrate a peripheral neural interface using CNTY capable of differential
recordings from seven different fascicles simultaneously. Here we were able to successfully implant into a total of three different fascicles one from ulnar nerve and two in the radial nerve in the forelimb of a mini pig and for the first time record simultaneously from the three different fascicles in multiple nerves acutely. The selectivity of the recorded data has been
analyzed using information theory measure. Initial findings indicate that we have a certain degree of selectivity in the recordings, however further studies are required to bolster this claim.

Friday, July 31, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Cale Crowder
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: Reinforcement Learning for Control of a Multi-Input Multi-Output Musculoskeletal Model of the Human Arm

Abstract: High-level spinal cord injuries often result in paralysis of all four limbs leading to decreased patient independence and quality of life. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) can be used to restore motor function to the upper extremity. To assist in creating functional movements, we have developed an FES controller that can elicit the intended arm kinematics. During this seminar, we describe a controller trained using reinforcement learning that operates on a horizontal planar musculoskeletal model of the human arm that has 2 degrees of freedom and 6 actuators. The controller is given information about the kinematics of the arm, but not the internal states of the muscles. We demonstrate that by using a state-of-the art reinforcement learning technique, we can improve controller performance, as compared to the previous state-of-the-art reinforcement learning controllers, while also decreasing training time and controller complexity.

Friday, July 24, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Danny Lam
Advisor: Profs. Capadona and Shoffstall
Title: Selective Targeting of Platelets for Drug Delivery Applications may Improve Long-term Microelectrode Performance

Abstract: Brain-computer interfaces are paving a new wave of treatment for rehabilitation and functional restoration. Implanted intracortical microelectrodes facilitate the transmission of patient's neuronal activities for specific commands and actions such as controlling neuroprosthetics. Unfortunately, the functional lifespan of these devices is short lived, in part due to a prolonged inflammatory response to the implanted foreign material. Consequently, microhemorrhaging occurs as a result of ruptured blood vessels during device insertion, and leads to significant influx of serum proteins, blood cells, and infiltrating microphages that intensifies the local neuroinflammation. Furthermore, the blood-brain barrier remains chronically unstable typified by a prolonged presence of serum proteins near the implant site (at least up to 4 months). Preliminary histological stains have shown presence of endogenous platelets at the microelectrode interface at both acute and chronic timepoints. Leveraging the presence of theses platelets, we proposed to adapt hemostatic platelet-mimetic nanoparticles (NP) to target the implant site for targeted drug delivery applications. As vascular disruption is inevitable for intracortical microelectrode applications, we expect the NP to target and localize at the site of implantation. In addition, we expect their hemostatic effects to reduce blood-brain barrier leakage and additionally provide a homing mechanism to enable drug delivery from the platform to address chronic inflammation, thereby extending the lifespan of the devices. As a first step in this work, we have assessed the potential for localization of endogenous platelets and NP near implanted microelectrodes.

Friday, July 17, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Speaker: Joseph Marmerstein
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Direct measurement of vagal tone in rats

Abstract: The vagus nerve is the largest autonomic nerve, innervating nearly every organ in the body. "Vagal tone" is a clinical measure believed to indicate overall levels of vagal activity, but is measured indirectly through the heart rate variability (HRV). Abnormal HRV has been associated with many severe conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, and hypertension. However, vagal tone has never been directly measured, leading to disagreements in its interpretation and influencing the effectiveness of vagal therapies. Using custom carbon nanotube yarn electrodes, we were able to chronically record neural activity from the left cervical vagus in both anesthetized and non-anesthetized rats. Here we show that tonic vagal activity does not correlate with common HRV metrics with or without anesthesia. Although we found that average vagal activity is increased during inspiration compared to expiration, this respiratory-linked signal was not correlated with HRV either. These results represent a clear advance in neural recording technology but also point to the need for a re-interpretation of the link between HRV and "vagal tone".

Friday, July 10, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Meeting ID: 480 435 7124
Speaker: Youjoung Kim
PI: Jeffrey Capadona
Title: An Overview of Multiphoton Imaging for NeuroEngineering Applications

Abstract: While histology is a powerful tool that can show tissue response to implants, it is often difficult to correlate to other data metrics such as neural recordings since it must be done post mortem and only offers one data point in time. Multiphoton imaging bypasses this barrier and offers insight into cellular responses in real time, allowing researchers to correlate data such as neuronal recordings directly to cellular activity. Additionally, with the help of software, it is possible to create 3D models, track cells, and neuronal activity visually. This presentation will be a brief overview into what multiphoton imaging is, its capabilities, how it can be applied to the work currently being done in our lab, and how it can be applied to the field of neuroengineering.

Friday, June 26, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am Zoom link
Meeting ID: 949 7217 4511
Speaker: Leah Marie Roldan
Advisor: Prof. Dustin Tyler
Title: Selective Stimulation of Unique Axon Populations with Perceptually Equivalent Sensation

Abstract: Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (FINEs and CFINEs) and spiral cuff electrodes have been successfully implanted in four upper limb amputees, providing these subjects with somatosensory feedback that feels as though it is their own hand and arm. Research has provided understanding of the relationship between stimulation paradigms and perceived sensation at a single point of perception, such as the index fingertip, at a time. Normal perception, however, is an integration of information from multiple percepts from the entire hand simultaneously. This is necessary for complex sensation such as object recognition (stereognosis) and object texture. A complete understanding of the interaction of stimulation from all channels in the electrode and the resulting percepts are currently lacking. To address this gap, we first need to better understand the recruitment overlap from multiple contacts. Computational models have shown that stimulating with two adjacent contacts recruits different axon populations. Experimentally, adjacent contacts are reported by the subjects to be perceptually equivalent. Based on refractory period stimulation techniques in study of muscle recruitment, we have developed a method to demonstrate if perceptually equivalent sensations from different contacts are the result of different axon population activation. Initial data supports the use of this method to evaluate recruitment overlap when studying perceived tactile feedback.

Friday, June 12, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
9:00 am, Zoom Link
Speaker: Sydney Song,
Advisor: Prof. Capadona
Title: A Gene Expression Approach in Understanding Neuroinflammation associated with Microelectrode Failure

Abstract: Intracortically implanted microelectrodes can record action potentials from individual neurons, and this is useful for both basic neuroscience research and clinical rehabilitation applications. For example, it can help restore functions to patients with spinal cord injury or advanced neurodegenerative diseases through connecting the brain and computer-controlled prosthetics. Unfortunately, the brain becomes damaged by the implanted microelectrodes due to trauma associated with surgery, micro-motion of the electrode within the brain, and continued disruption of blood brain barrier. The brain also rejects this implanted foreign object through pathophysiological inflammatory processes. Therefore, microelectrodes often fail within months to years, limiting its potential. In this study, we investigate the tissue responses of the brain against implanted microelectrodes. Using Nanostring nCounter gene expression platform, we are able to examine the expression of a large amount of genes in parallel. The results helps us identify genes and pathways that contribute to biological responses to micro electrode failure.

Friday, May 29, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom Link
9:00 AM, Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android

Presenter: George Hoeferlin
Advisor: Jeffrey Capadona
Title: A Review of the Biological Response to Intracortical Microelectrodes

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes can be used to rehabilitate those inflicted with neurological disorders or spinal cord injury and provide information about the brain. Unfortunately, these electrodes tend to fail within months to years, as characterized by a loss in recorded signal quality. Loss in signal would require either an additional invasive surgery to replace the electrode, or risk losing the functional rehabilitation it provides. When implanted in the brain, the body recognizes the electrode as a foreign body, and attempts to reject it. The Capadona lab is focused on mitigating the biological response from the body, as it is theorized to be one of the main mechanisms behind electrode failure. Parts of this response include damage to the blood-brain barrier, activation of microglia and macrophages, and the formation of a glial scar due to activated astrocytes. Each of these contribute to neuronal death and degradation of the electrode itself, leading to the loss in signal observed. This presentation aims to walk through this biological response in detail along with presenting relevant literature supporting the notion of targeting this response. We hope to use this as a chance to teach those that may be less familiar with how the body responds to electrodes and contributes to failure.

Friday, May 22, 9:00 am
NEC Seminar via Zoom link

Speaker: Tyler Johnson
Advisor: Dr. Dawn Taylor
Title: Optimizing Muscle Cocontraction for Reaching with Functional Electrical Stimulation

Abstract: Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) uses electrical stimulation to reanimate muscles that have been otherwise disconnected from the brain through injury or disease. This technology, when utilized in the upper limbs, gives paralyzed individuals the potential to perform reaching tasks which can significantly improve their independence and quality of life. During normal arm movements, people actively modulate the amount of 'cocontraction' or the degree to which opposing muscles are simultaneously active. Increasing cocontraction helps stiffen our limbs and makes them more resistant to external perturbations while decreasing cocontraction minimizes energy use and facilitates rapid movements. Optimizing the degree of cocontraction is particularly important when restoring arm function via FES because excess cocontraction can lead to muscle fatigue and faster battery drain. Conversely, too little cocontraction can lead to poorly controlled movements that are prone to perturbations from the environment. Our goal is to optimize ways to dynamically modulate cocontraction when controlling arm movements via FES. To that end we are using simulations of a virtual arm model where we can easily compare the pros and cons of various methods.

Friday, May 15, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom Link
9:00 AM, via Zoom

Presenter: Nabeel Chowdhury
Advisor: Prof. Dustin Tyler
Title: Ascending Artificial Feedback from Peripheral Nerve Stimulation is Processed Similarly to Natural Tactile Feedback

Abstract: Sensorimotor integration is important, if not required, when using our hands day to day. This integration of the tactile and motor systems is disrupted for upper limb amputees whose direct connection to tactile feedback from their fingertips is severed. These individuals must rely on vision when performing tasks in their daily lives, but vision proves to be a poor substitute for the sensation of our fingertips when using our hands. A lack of tactile feedback has led to dissatisfaction and often rejection of upper limb prosthetic devices creating the need to replace or replicate tactile feedback for these individuals. Replicating tactile feedback has been done through the use of vibrotactile feedback and direct stimulation of the somatosensory cortex, but both modalities have limitations when used for functional tasks. A single vibrotactile motor in the prosthetic socket can represent an overall grasping strength, but when multiple vibrotactile motors represent multiple fingers touching a surface, the perception of this overall sensation becomes confusing. Direct cortical stimulation was meant to skip the delay from the entire ascending tactile pathway to the brain and produce conscious feedback that is felt at functionally relevant locations on the phantom hand. Despite this, the processing of direct cortical feedback has shown to be slowed to a speed even slower than processing visual feedback given alone. Taken together, this implies that the conscious perception of the sensation is important, but is not the full story. Skipping the ascending pathway skips many nuclei in the brain stem which form a parallel network meant to process tactile feedback and integrate it with the motor system below the conscious level. Much of this network does not interact with the somatosensory cortex at all. In order to test the importance of the ascending pathway, peripheral nerve stimulation was used to produce artificial tactile feedback starting in the upper limb. Even though the signal generated by peripheral nerve stimulation is not patterned to be natural, it may still be processed and used by the brain stem before reaching the cortex. The results of experiments on how peripheral nerve stimulation is used in a simple reaction test, how intensity of stimulation affects reaction time, and if peripheral nerve stimulation interacts with the motor system at a nonconscious level show that, in our subject population, peripheral nerve stimulation is used by the nervous system in a similar way to natural tactile feedback both consciously and nonconsciously.

Friday, April 10, 2020
NEC Seminar via Zoom
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android
LINK

Speaker: Aidan Friederich
Advisor: Prof. Ronald Triolo
Title: Force Characterization of a Trunk-Based Neuroprosthesis

Abstract: Paralysis of the trunk results in seated instability leading to difficulties performing activities of daily living. Functional neuromuscular stimulation combined with control systems have the potential to restore some dynamic functions of the trunk. However, design of multi-joint, multi-muscle control systems requires full characterization of the contractile properties of the stimulation-driven muscles responsible for movement. This talk will discuss the process and results of characterizing the input-output force properties of paralyzed trunk muscles activated by functional neuromuscular stimulation, and explore the co-activation of muscles. These results will be used to define the limits of a trunk-based neuroprosthesis.

Friday, March 6, 2020
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM, White 324

Speaker: Hendrik Dewald
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: "A Brief Summary of Stroke"
Abstract: During this talk I will cover stroke's pathophysiology, incidence rates, risk factors, symptoms, and some interventions.

The NP Webinar for Thursday, February 20, and the NEC seminars for Friday, February 21 and Friday, February 28 have been cancelled.

Thursday, February 20, 2020 CANCELLED
NP Seminar
3:00 PM, Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413
Speaker: Erika Ross PhD, Director Applied Research Abbott Neuromodulation
Title: "Critical collaboration: An industry perspective on research to drive innovation in neuromodulation"

Erika Ross, PhD is the Director of Applied Research at Abbott Neuromodulation, leading applied research strategy, external partnerships, portfolio, and execution. Applied research includes computational modeling, pre-clinical, feasibility, and clinical safety trials that feed new products and indications. Prior to her role at Abbott, Dr. Ross was the Neuroscience Director at Cala Health, a Stanford Biodesign incubated start-up that has been developing a non-invasive, digitally enabled neuromodulation solution for Essential Tremor patients. She has held roles of increasing leadership at Cala Health as the company completed development and prepared for commercialization and played a major role in developing their digital health architecture and team. Prior to Cala Health, Dr. Ross held the roles of Assistant Professor of Neurologic Surgery and Deputy Director of the Surgical Device Innovation Accelerator at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn where she developed invasive and non-invasive solutions to unmet needs in the neuromodulation and other surgical practice areas.

Friday, February 14, 2020
9:00 AM White Bldg, Rm 324
Speaker: Jessica de Abreu
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: "Intrasurgical optimization of an upper-limb multi-cuff neuroprosthesis for BCI-controlled functional electrical stimulation"

Abstract: high spinal cord injuries may lead to severe motor impairments and tetraplegia. In the past, our group has demonstrated an intramuscular FES-BCI system as an approach to revert upper-limb paralysis. In this presentation, we will describe a multi-cuff CFINE-based neuroprosthesis which may provide improved motor function and dexterity. However, current understanding of how surgical parameters impact system performance is lacking. Here, we will propose a study to investigate how cuff placement impacts performance for an upper-limb neuroprosthesis. Also, we will describe an algorithm to support the intrasurgical assessment of cuff selectivity and recruitment while minimizing time for data collection. In the future, this study may support surgical planning for upper-limb nerve-cuff neuroprostheses.

Friday, February 7, 2020
9:00 AM White Bldg, Rm 324
Presenter: Ryan Reyes
Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: "Able-bodied Metabolic and Preliminary SCI Testing of a "Muscle First" Hybrid Exoskeleton for Walking After Paraplegia"

Abstract: Traditional commercial exoskeletons enable persons paralyzed by spinal cord injury (SCI) to perform walking motions driven by motorized joints in the exoskeletal brace. We are developing a "Muscle First" Motor-Assisted Hybrid Neuroprosthesis (MAHNP), which uses neural stimulation to activate the leg muscles in order to generate the majority of the forces required for walking , while coordinating the exoskeletal motors with muscle motive power to ensure stability and to correct stepping motions. In contrast, conventional commercially available exoskeletons cannot be driven by the muscles due to having non-backdrivable, mechanically inefficient transmissions, and therefore depend on external motors at the joints for all motive power. The MAHNP features motorized backdrivable joints with low passive resistance which helps to minimize muscular effort wasted in overcoming the passive characteristics of the device when performing ambulatory motions. This presentation will discuss results of experiments using the MAHNP with able-bodied subjects to determine the metabolic cost of walking with the exoskeleton under differing conditions – with the exoskeleton providing no assistance, and the exoskeleton providing enough assistance to overcome all passive resistance at the joints. The metabolic cost of using the exoskeleton compared to able-bodied walking is an indication of how much muscular effort is wasted in moving the device itself, as opposed to generating ambulatory motion. Thus, exploring what factors contribute to increasing the metabolic cost of walking in the device is important for future design iterations of the MAHNP. In addition, initial results from walking with subjects with spinal cord injury will be shown, showing the effect of motorized compensation for passive resistance at the knee and hip joints, as well as the effects of a simple biologically inspired burst assistance from the brace motors. The presentation will conclude with the next steps for control strategies to coordinate the exoskeleton and stimulation.

Friday, January 31, 2020
9:00 AM White Bldg, Rm 324
Presenter: Prof. J. Thomas Mortimer
Title: "Applied Neural Control: origin and metamorphosis at Case"

Abstract: About sixty years ago the environment at Case was ripe for an idea to be brought to life by Case engineers to develop a cybernetic system that would restore upper limb mobility to the high-level spinal cord injured person. Influenced by the knowledge acquired in the first ten years, engineers in the Applied Neural Control Laboratory picked up the baton fifty years ago and carried it another thirty odd years. On that thirty year journey some engineers expanded the vision to think of electrical stimulation of nerve as controlled and targeted release of neurotransmitters and some stayed true to the original idea. The forty-year ride involved some amazing people who did some pretty amazing things, the story of this presentation.

Friday, January 17, 2020
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM NORD 400

Speaker: Kristen Gelenitis
Advisor: Dr. Ronaled Triolo
Title: "Acute interventions for prolonging neural stimulation-driven exercise after SCI"

Abstract: Exercise after spinal cord injury (SCI) is crucial for combating secondary health complications and maintaining quality of life. Neural stimulation-driven exercise systems enable participants to involve their paralyzed musculature during cycling or rowing for a more complete workout. However, workout durations are limited by rapidly induced muscle fatigue, which subsequently limits the physiological benefits gained from these systems. The primary purpose of this study is to maximize work performed by people with SCI within each session of stimulation-driven exercise. To that end, we are investigating two interventions that adjust the type of stimulation delivered. The first intervention optimizes the amount of activated fiber overlap among stimulating electrodes to prevent unnecessary increases in firing frequency. The second intervention uses a carousel pattern to reduce duty cycle, allowing some fibers to rest and recover while others maintain required contractions for exercise. Preliminary results from implementing these strategies with three participants with SCI will be discussed. Additionally, a future intervention involving the use of virtual reality environment manipulation while exercising will be proposed for discussion and feedback.

Friday, January 10, 2020
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Tyler Johnson
Advisor: Dawn Taylor, Ph.D.

Title: Refining FES with Improved Neural Recording and Cocontraction Methods

We are working on a method of controlling upper limb reaching with functional electrical stimulation (FES) where neural signals are put directly in control of muscle stimulation levels. Subjects are then able to control a virtual arm model by thinking about moving their own limbs while receiving visual feedback in the form of a cursor moving on a screen corresponding to the fingertip location of the model arm. The efficacy of this system is largely dependent on our ability to detect spikes in the neural signals. I will show the process we went through to reduce noise and find the optimal hardware and software referencing.

With FES systems, the degree of muscle cocontraction plays a large role in how well the limb can be controlled but also can lead to more fatigue and battery drain. The first approach we are taking to better understand this trade off is a series of computer simulations where we can evaluate the performance of a virtual arm under different levels of cocontraction. Simultaneously, we also hope to train our subjects to use cocontraction, as recorded by EMGs, while reaching for targets. This will give us some insight into what behavior the neural signals exhibit during cocontraction.

2019

Friday, December 6, 2019
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM NORD 400

Speaker: Joseph Marmerstein
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: "Direct Measurement of Chronic Vagal Tone in Anesthetized Rats"

Abstract: The autonomic nervous system governs subconscious control and sensing of visceral organ activity. It has recently become a focus for novel therapeutic technologies, termed "bioelectronic medicine". The vagus nerve is the largest autonomic nerve, innervating nearly every organ in the body; "vagal tone" is a clinical measure presumed to indicate overall levels of vagal activity. Low vagal tone has been associated with many severe conditions such as diabetes, heart failure and hypertension, yet has so far only been measured indirectly through the heart rate variability (HRV). We have now developed a methodology to directly measure vagal activity in chronic animals, allowing for the first time, true measures of vagal tone. Using microwire electrodes made of carbon nanotube (CNT) yarns implanted inside the vagus nerves of rats, we have recorded vagal tone directly for the first time with simultaneous ECG for measurement of HRV. While the name vagal tone implies a tonic level of baseline activity in the vagus nerve, our results show that baseline neural activity does not correlate with changes in common HRV metrics used for vagal tone, including root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) and high frequency component of RR-interval (respiratory frequency, 0.5-2.0Hz). It has been hypothesized that HRV may be driven by phasic vagal activity related to respiration. Using changes in RR-interval, we measured average vagal activity during heart rate decreases (expiration) and heart rate increases (inspiration). As expected, vagal activity is increased during expiration and decreased during inspiration. The magnitude difference between vagal activity during expiration and inspiration, termed respiratory vagal difference (RVD) was found to have a significant positive correlation with only the high frequency percentage, suggesting that heart rate variability metrics may not be direct measures of overall tonic or phasic vagal activity.

Friday, November 22, 2019
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM NORD 400

Speaker: Kelsey Bower
Advisor: Prof. McIntyre
Title: "Identifying the effects of axon termination on neural excitability"

Abstract: Subthalamic deep brain stimulation is a proven treatment for late stage Parkinson's disease. Despite widespread clinical success, a scientific consensus on its therapeutic mechanism remains elusive. Substantial research efforts have attempted to deconstruct the subthalamic neural circuitry in an effort to understand the role(s) of specific neural pathways in the behavioral response to DBS, and recent optogenetic research has identified the "hyperdirect" pathway as a potential target for therapeutic DBS. Hyperdirect axons project a collateral to the subthalamic region which terminates in close proximity to the electrode. Simple mathematical analyses have shown that axon termination points can be hypersensitive to electrical stimulation. However these analyses were based on simple axon models and failed to analyze the robustness of these "termination effects" to different morphological parameters. The goals of this project are to (1) identify the effects of axon termination in a clinically-relevant DBS model and (2) quantify the robustness of these "termination" effects to different stimulation parameters and morphological features. Multi-compartment cable models were created to represent both terminating and non-terminating axons. A computational head model was generated to simulate the DBS environment and calculate the spatial electric potential distribution along axon models. The membrane response to this extracellular stimulus was simulated, and activation thresholds were identified for each axon model. Results for terminating axons were compared to non-terminating axons to identify the effects of termination. Terminating axons generally have lower thresholds than diameter-matched fibers of passage under cathodic stimulation. This suggests that subthalamic afferents, including hyperdirect axons, may be some of the first neural elements recruited in cathodic STN DBS. Shorter pulse widths and large electrode-axon distances best isolate activation to terminating axons over non-terminating fibers of passage. Under cathodic stimulation conditions, terminal node activity and myelination extent have the greatest effect on activation thresholds and should therefore be modeled accurately. Anodic stimulation does not selectively activate terminating axons over fibers of passage.

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Neural Prosthesis Seminar/Webinar
3:00pm Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413

Speaker: Jeffrey Ardell, PhD, FAHA
Professor, UCLA
Title: "Neuromodulation Focused Therapeutics for Cardiac Disease: Structure/Function Foundations"

PDF

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Neural Prosthesis Seminar/Webinar
3:00pm Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413

Speaker: Dejan Markovic, PhD
Professor, UCLA
Title: "Closed-Loop Neuromodulation"

Abstract: Facing a growing number of patients with neurological disorders, there are only limited therapeutic pharmacological measures which provide only temporary and mild amelioration of the devastating symptoms of these disorders. The use of electrical stimulation of the brain is a treatment option for patients with severe treatment-resistant disorders. Current deep-brain stimulation (DBS) approaches are hindered by inadequate technology that is low-precision and bulky, power-inefficient, and of limited diagnostic utility. The seminar will discuss a high-precision implantable neurotechnology for closed-loop neuromodulation of functional networks of the human brain. Key features of the technology are: 1) sensing from a high number of channels, 2) sensing concurrent with stimulation for true closed-loop operation, and 3) real-time secure wireless data telemetry. The proposed neurotechnology could revolutionize brain therapies in efficacy, size and cost of medical implants. PDF

 

Friday, October 18, 2019
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM, Nord 400
Speaker: Chia-Chu Chiang, Ph.D.
Title: Spontaneous seizures can cross a transection by electric field coupling in-vitro and in-vivo

Abstract: In epilepsy, surgical transections are performed to isolate the epileptogenic zone while keeping brain function intact. However, this technique has a poor success-rate (30-40%) and the mechanisms of how seizures in the foci spreading beyond the transection are unclear. In-vitro studies show that electric fields can activate neighboring neurons, thereby generating a self-propagating wave that could cross a transection. Therefore, using both in-vitro and in-vivo electrophysiology, we studied the mechanism driving activity through a physical cut or transection. We provide evidence that electric field coupling can contribute to creating a propagating wave through a transection/cut in the hippocampus. This seizure-like activity can propagate through the cut with no significant change in delay. We further show that these endogenous fields are large enough to go through a cut with no significant difference in the field amplitude proximal to the cut, in the cut, and distal to the cut. Moreover, we show that in-vivo 4-AP induced spikes with larger amplitude and power have higher probability of crossing a complete transection of the hippocampus. Finally, we show that a thin layer of glass is sufficient to stop seizure propagation by blocking electric field coupling. These results indicate that electric fields are sufficient for driving in-vitro and in-vivo epileptiform activity and could explain the low success rate of surgical transections.

Friday October 4, 2019
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM, Nord 400
Speaker: Youjoung Kim
Advisor: Prof. Capadona
Title: Localized Resveratrol Delivery Improves Recording Quality from Intracortical Microelectrodes

Abstract: Intracortical Microelectrodes (IMEs) are valuable tools in neuroscience that allow recording of neural activity. Unfortunately, signal quality from IMEs decreases over time, partly due to biological failure mechanisms. The inflammatory response elicited by the implant of the electrode, leads to the activation of glial cells, release of cytokines and other pro-inflammatory molecules, and encapsulation of the electrode. The inflammatory environment around the implant results in an increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to oxidative stress around the implant site. Increasing ROS levels may lead to neuronal cell death, increased inflammation, and the corrosion or delamination of the microelectrode surface. Our lab has previously investigated the use of an antioxidant resveratrol (RVT), to mitigate the oxidative stress and inflammatory response surrounding the implant. Abdominal adhesions resulting from chronic repeated intraperitoneal delivery (IP) of resveratrol led us to investigate modes of localized drug delivery. The initial goal of the study was to examine the effects intracerebroventricular (ICV) delivery of resveratrol has on electrophysiological recording quality and stability, as well as resulting neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. Sixteen Sprague Dawley rats were implanted with a silicon, single shank, 16 channel IME in the motor cortex (n = 8 controls). RVT group animals (n =8) were also implanted with an Alzet Osmotic Pump and brain infusion kit, loaded with a solution of 500mM pure trans-RVT powder dissolved in Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG200). Electrophysiology and end-point histology were evaluated and found that the experimental group showed significant (p<0.05) improvement in recording performance (units per channel and percentage of channels recording single units). End point histology demonstrated significant (p<0.05) decreased protein oxidation in the experimental group compared to the control group. Quantification of the tissue concentration, accumulation, and metabolism of RVT was then investigated. Sixteen rats were implanted with dummy probes and the same osmotic pump setup as described above, and postmortem evaluation of the tissue was conducted at the following time points: 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 4 Weeks, 6 Weeks. Tissue was analyzed with mass spectrometry (MS), using naïve rat tissue as blanks. The MS results will be discussed further in the seminar. The overall results of this study suggest that RVT improves IME performance and tissue. An alternate method of ensuring RVT at the implant site instead of its metabolites is to use a microfluidic probe, which we are currently in the process of optimizing and characterizing.

Thursday, September 26, 2019
NP Seminar
4:00 PM, BRB 105
Speaker: Tim Bruns, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan
Title: Developing an Interface with Dorsal Root Ganglia for Closed-Loop Bladder Control

For more information contact Cheryl Dudek cdudek@FEScenter.org (216) 231-3257
Live streaming, interaction, and archived webinars at FEScenterWebinar.org.

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Neurosciences Seminar
12:10 PM, BRB 105
Speaker: Nelson Spruston, PhD
Senior Director of Scientific Programs; Laboratory Head
HHMI Janelia Research Campus
Title: Deciphering the function of specific cell types in memory circuits
Host: Dr. Qian Sun

Abstract: A major goal of biology is to understand complex physiological systems in terms of their cell types. What are the cell types? How do their properties and interrelationships allow the system to function? We have begun to tackle this challenge for hippocampus-dependent spatial memory in the mouse. I will describe our progress toward this goal, including our efforts to provide unified descriptions of hippocampal cell types based on gene expression, morphology, circuit integration, and cellular function. This approach has allowed us to make new discoveries about hippocampal cell types and begin to explore cell-type-specific contributions to spatial memory. I will also discuss strategies for continuing to develop a better understanding of the cellular and circuit basis of spatial memory.

Link: https://www.janelia.org/people/nelson-spruston

Friday, September 20, 2019
NEC Seminar
9:00 AM, Nord 300

Speaker: Cale Crowder
Research Adviser: Prof. Kirsch
Title: A Crash Course in Hypothesis Testing for Researchers Who Would Rather Focus on the "Science"

Abstract: In order to perform hypothesis-based research, the correct hypothesis test must be identified and applied. During this lecture, we will discuss 1) how to properly choose a hypothesis test, 2) the assumptions underlying hypothesis tests, 3) the multiple comparison problem, and 4) designing studies based on the limitations of commonly-available hypothesis tests. We will apply the covered material to a real-world neural engineering research problem. This lecture is designed for junior graduate students with high-school or undergraduate-level statistics experience. However, it may also be useful for researchers with more experience who are looking to refresh their statistics knowledge or learn something new.

Friday, September 6, 2019
9:00 AM, Nord 400
Speaker: Sydney Song
Advisor: Prof. Capadona
Title: A Gene Expression Approach in Understanding Neuroinflammation associated with Microelectrode Failure

Abstract: Intracortically implanted microelectrodes can record action potentials from individual neurons, and this is useful for both basic neuroscience research and clinical rehabilitation applications. For example, it can help restore functions to patients with spinal cord injury or advanced neurodegenerative diseases. Unfortunately, the brain becomes damaged by the implanted microelectrodes due to trauma associated with surgery, micro-motion of the electrode within the brain, and continued disruption of blood brain barrier. The brain also rejects this implanted foreign object through pathophysiological inflammatory processes. Therefore, microelectrodes often fail within months to years, limiting its potential. In order to better understand this complicated process of microelectrode failure, we turn to gene expression assays to examine the tissue surrounding microelectrodes. Advancements in genetics and bioinformatics over the past two decades allow us to examine a large amount of genes in parallel. The results will help us identify genes and pathways that contribute to biological responses to micro electrode failure. This will, in turn, help us find molecular and pathway targets in our goal of prolonging microelectrode lifespan.

Friday, September 6, 2019
11am in NE1-205 at the Cleveland Clinic
Speaker: John Rogers, Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University
Title: Soft Electronics for the Human Body

Abstract:Biological systems are mechanically soft, with complex, 3D curvilinear shapes; modern electronic devices are rigid, with simple, 2D layouts. Technologies that eliminate this profound mismatch in physical properties create opportunities for devices that can intimately integrate with the body, for diagnostic, therapeutic or surgical function with important, unique capabilities in biomedical research and clinical healthcare. Over the last decade, a convergence of new concepts in mechanical engineering, materials science, electrical engineering and advanced manufacturing has led to the emergence of diverse, novel classes of 'biocompatible' electronic platforms. This talk describes the key ideas, and presents some of the most recent device examples, including wireless, skin-like electronic 'tattoos' for continuous monitoring of vital signs in neonatal intensive care, closed-loop systems for optogenetic control over bladder function, and bioresorbable wireless stimulators for accelerated neuroregeneration.

Please note that Dr. Damaser has graciously arranged for a lunch for graduate student, post-doc and other early career trainees with Dr. Rogers right after the seminar (12-1p) at CCF.

Friday, August 30, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400
Speaker: Saksham Sharda
Advisor: Prof. Ajiboye

Friday, August 23, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, Wickenden 321
Speaker: Leah Marie Roldan
Advisors: Dr. Dustin Tyler
Title: Does modulation of pulse amplitude result in the same characteristics of perceived intensity as modulation of pulse width?

Abstract: Hand prostheses have the potential to help upper limb amputees perform everyday tasks, increase quality of life, and return to employment. Despite these benefits, abandonment of prostheses continues to be a problem. About 21% of upper limb amputees choose not to use any prosthetic devices and 85% of these individuals identify the absence of sensory feedback as a contributing factor. Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (FINEs) and spiral cuff electrodes have been successfully implanted in four upper limb amputees, with stimulation through these electrodes providing subjects with somatosensory feedback. Additionally, this feedback can be controlled through a closed-loop system with pressure and bend sensors incorporated within a prosthetic hand. This technology has thereby restored tactile feedback and enabled participants to use prostheses to interact with objects and other people, as well as improved task performance. To better understand how sensation evoked by electrical stimulation is interpreted, psychophysical methods can be used to measure perceptual dimensions, such as perceived intensity. Previous work in our lab utilized a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm to investigate neural encoding of intensity by varying the pulse width (PW) and pulse frequency (PF) of peripheral nerve stimulation. This forced-choice paradigm was then used to determine the just-noticeable difference (JND) for each stimulation parameter, which is defined as how much the stimulation parameter needs to change in order to yield a reliable change in perception. Current experiments aim to expand this prior study to additionally understand the impact of variations in pulse amplitude (PA) on perceived intensity. Preliminary data indicates that discriminability of PA is higher (ie displayed lower JNDs) than that for PF and is similar to that of PW. The findings from this study will be used to design pulse amplitude-based encoding strategies for closed loop prosthetic systems in the future, wherein perceived intensity is mapped to pressure exerted by the prosthetic hand during grasp. Additionally, information gained in this study will enable future research to understand integration of sensation from multiple simultaneous somatosensory percepts.

 

Friday, August 16, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, Nord 400
Speaker: George Hoeferlin
Advisors: Dr. Jeffrey Capadona
Title: Immunomodulatory Approaches to Mitigating Intracortical Microelectrode Failure

Abstract: Neural interfacing applications to treat neurological disorders and obtain information are becoming more and more prevalent, with new companies and coalitions emerging to provide funding into this area. Intracortical microelectrodes are critical components for these applications. Unfortunately, these electrodes tend to fail over time, usually within months to a few years in clinical trials. One main contributor to this failure is the body's biological response to intracortical microelectrodes. To attempt to mitigate this response and improve the life of these electrodes, three different immunomodulatory approaches were explored. The first utilizes a peptide sequence able to bind to surface molecules on inflammatory cells, preventing their ability to bind to implanted devices. A second approach exploits an enzyme that catalyzes the first and rate-limiting step in a pathway shown to reduce immune response by promoting macrophage differentiation into their anti-inflammatory phenotype. Finally, the last approach is using antibody therapy to target the CD14 receptor. CD14 has been identified to be a strong initiator of the innate immune response through Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation. By using antibodies to block the receptor, we will prevent CD14 from activating TLRs, thus leading to a reduced inflammatory response. Through immunomodulation, each of these approaches aims to reduce the neuroinflammatory response to intracortical microelectrodes, thus prolonging their active life.

Friday, August 9, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, Nord 400
Speaker: Paul Gloth
Advisors: Prof. Capadona

Abstract: One of the current tools used to probe the brain is the intracortical microelectrode which can record from single neurons or small populations of neurons. Despite the enthusiasm for brain interfacing technologies which utilize the intracortical microelectrode, it is widely understood that microelectrodes exhibit limited long-term viability where recordings typically fail 6 months to 1 year after implantation. This is due to multimodal failure mechanisms including the biological inflammatory response. This chronically inflammaed environment around the implant results in an increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to oxidative stress around the site. Our lab has previously investigated the use of resveratrol, an antioxidant, to mitigate the oxidative stress and inflammatory response surrounding the implant. In this talk, I will discuss our previous work, delivery method, and current characterization methods for Superoxide Dismutase, an alternative antioxidant.

BME Summer 2019 Seminar Series

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.
Wickenden, Room 321
Case Western Reserve University

Deep brain optical imaging in freely behaving animals

Bo Liang, PhD
Research fellow
Neural Engineering Unit, Behavioral Neuroscience Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse,
Intramural Research Program (NIDA/IRP) National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Bethesda, MD

Abstract: The mammalian brain consists of millions of different types of cells, which anatomically organize as a network with functional activities of multiple time scales from seconds to years. Understanding how coordinated neural activities give rise to behavioral responses requires advanced neural engineering techniques. Optical calcium imaging method has been transforming neuroscience research by enabling large-scale recording of neural activities in a cell-type specific and real-time fashion, yet still face significant challenges in recordings from deep brain regions due to the limited light penetration in the brain tissue. In this talk, I will present our customized miniature fluorescence microscope system allowing longitudinal recording of neural activities from hundreds of neurons in deep brain regions of freely behaving mice. I will describe how miniature microscope imaging system can be leveraged to understand neural coding mechanisms in brain regions such dorsal striatum and medial prefrontal cortex for naturalistic behaviors.

Thursday, August 1, 2019
11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.
Wickenden, Room 321

Case Western Reserve University

Sensory information: From neural coding to human experience

Emily Graczyk, PhD
Research Associate, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio

Abstract: Our senses are responsible for providing us with information about the external world. The somatosensory nervous system provides information about touch and proprioception, wherein receptors in the periphery transduce mechanical stimuli into neural signals, which are sent to the brain via the peripheral nerves. Along this pathway, sensory information is processed and integrated with other neural systems to modulate action, perception, emotion, and other experiences. However, the neural coding of sensory information is complex and the conversion of information into conscious experience is not well understood. With neural-interfacing technology, we can directly interact with sensory information flow by activating sensory neurons through electrical stimulation. Injecting information into the somatosensory pathway with neurotechnology allows us to study sensory information encoding, processing, and perceptual experience in a unique way. Artificial sensation also enables sensory augmentation for the able-bodied, providing additional sensory capabilities beyond the biological senses. Most importantly, electrical stimulation of the somatosensory nervous system can be applied clinically to restore sensation to persons with sensory deficits, including amputation, spinal cord injury, chronic pain, and stroke. We have shown that persons with upper limb loss can interpret and use artificial somatosensory information to improve prosthesis control. In addition, artificial sensation impacts emotional and psychological outcomes. In this talk, I will present recent progress in artificial somatosensation, including efforts to elucidate the neural coding of sensation, demonstrate sensory learning, understand the psychosocial implications of artificial touch, and maximize sensory information transmission using artificial intelligence.


Friday, August 2, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, Nord 400
Speaker: Nabeel Chowdhury
Advisors: Prof. Tyler
Title: Masked Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Results in Preconscious Motor Activation

Abstract: Most often, research in upper limb prosthetics usage and rehabilitation focuses on the idea of fully restoring a subject's motor ability without much thought to the sensory system's contribution to motor control. The thought is that a perfect replication of the motor control of an able bodied individual will fully restore a prosthesis user's functional ability. An example of perfect motor output with no sensory input exists in those who have a deafferentation of a limb. In these individuals, they excel in the lab doing functional tasks, and yet activities of daily living become almost impossible. Actions like drinking, eating, buttoning a shirt, and writing become nearly impossible because tactile information is needed at a preconscious level to make fine, automatic adjustments to movement. Intuitive sensory information is imperative for intuitive motor control to function. Previous solutions, both noninvasive and invasive, have provided tactile feedback requiring conscious effort to understand leading to useful, but unintuitive feedback. Our group's solution is to send stimuli through nerve cuffs on the peripheral nerves of the amputee's arm so that the signal is naturally directed by physiology to the correct, subcortical areas of the brain before conscious perception occurs. This allows the feedback to be used at a pre-cortical level and therefore more intuitively. In order to test preconscious usage of these stimuli, we backmasked a threshold level stimulus with a medium intensity stimulus and saw subjects' conscious reaction times shift backwards in time compared to when the masked stimulus had not occurred such that the subject is likely reacting to the unfelt, masked stimulus instead of the medium intensity stimulus that they did feel. This implies that the stimulus was used preconsciously to trigger a preplanned motor output. We also compared the reaction times due to stimulated tactile feedback with reaction times due to visual and vibrotactile feedback. Our results show that stimulated reaction times are consistent with tactile reaction times seen with able-bodied individuals and this once again confirms that the artificial tactile information is used similarly if not the same as for an able-bodied individual. These results taken together suggest peripheral nerve stimulation is used intuitively by the brain and could provide feedback resulting in intuitive control of a prosthesis.

 

Friday, July 24, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, Nord 400
Speaker: Aidan Friederich
Advisors: Dr. Triolo
Title: Characterization of Trunk Muscle Recruitment Properties in Three Dimensions

Abstract: Control of trunk muscles can be significantly compromised after paralysis from spinal cord injury (SCI); which leads to instability when sitting. This is often addressed using wheelchair pads and straps to restrict trunk movement because no method exists to both increase support and stability while also expanding the effective workspace. Neuroprostheses employing functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) to activate the trunk muscles together with well-designed feedback control systems can be deployed to replicate dynamic trunk stability and seated balance. Currently, such feedback controllers use simplified linear muscle recruitment curves to relate changes in muscle activation to trunk muscle force output. This can cause destabilizing effects and result in performance loss. Use of nonlinear recruitment curves have been shown to increase performance of knee angle controllers via neural stimulation, however this approach has never been implemented in trunk musculature and three dimensional nonlinear recruitment properties of otherwise paralyzed trunk muscles have yet to been experimentally determined. The purpose of this work is to generate functionally accurate recruitment curves of the main muscles that mediate trunk stability using FNS. A device was designed to hold the trunk in a static position thereby allowing for the transmission of exerted forces during isometric muscle contractions to a six-axis load cell (JR3 100M40). Two participants with spinal cord injuries (C7 ASIA B, T6 ASIA A) were placed in the device and stimulation was applied at increasing pulse widths (PW) from 0µs to 250µs at 10µs steps to individually activate trunk and hip muscles with implanted intramuscular electrodes. The resulting forces in the anterior-posterior, medial-lateral, and inferior-superior directions were captured. The recruitment curves exhibit non-linear behavior and were fit to a Gompertz sigmoid curve. The recruitment curves measured here are expected to result in increased performance of FNS controllers for trunk stability by more accurately relating the PW directly to the force output and providing improved insight to the direction in which each muscle acts.

Friday, June 28, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, Nord 400
Speaker: Platon Lukyanenko
Advisors: Dustin Tyler
Title: Accelerating a synergy-model-based prosthetic hand controller with an ANN

Abstract: Prosthetic hand control interfaces are typically limited to a 100ms runtime to prevent the perception of lag. As more degrees of freedom are controlled by a prosthetic hand controller, controller runtime may increase. Our group recently developed a user-specific synergy-based model which employs user EMG signals to provide control over 4 degrees of freedom. This model-based controller interprets implanted EMG signals to determine hand speed in a manner which should be more effort-efficient and allows stable control over several months. Model runtime, however, scales exponentially with both the number of EMG signals and the degrees of freedom controlled to prohibitive levels. This constrains the controller's usability in wearable devices for take-home prosthetic systems. One method for handling expensive model runtimes is through function approximators, such as artificial neural networks. Prosthetic hand controllers based on function approximators, however, require large amounts of training data and a separate method for determining hand speed to function. Two trans-radial amputee subjects were implanted with intramuscular electrodes and provided sample movement data. Movement EMG was used to build five user-specific prosthetic hand controllers:
DT: A synergy-model based controller trained on original data
AT: An ANN controller trained on original data with traditional speed determination.
DAT: An ANN trained to mimic DT using original training data.
DATS: An ANN trained to mimic DT using original and simulated EMG data.
DATOS: A DATS controller augmented with roughly a year's worth of online user data.

Results suggest that using an ANN to approximate the model-based controller can improve either runtime or user effort levels without harming controller performance.

 

Friday, June 21, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, Nord 400
Speaker: Hendrik A Dewald
Advisors: Dr. Kirsch
Title: Functional Impact and Quantification of Peripheral Nerve Blocks

Abstract: Impaired arm and hand function is a major cause of chronic disability among hemiparetic stroke survivors. In particular, the paretic arm and hand are affected by an abnormal flexion synergy where shoulder abduction is accompanied by involuntary elbow, wrist, and finger flexion. This flexion synergy significantly compromises the ability to reach and open the hand for functional tasks, with more severely impaired individuals often unable to open the paretic hand even when the arm is fully supported. A peripheral nerve block would interrupt this maladaptive descending drive, reducing wrist and finger flexion and potentially returning functional use of extensors. The first steps towards evaluating this will focus on observing the impact of complete median and ulnar nerve blocks by local anesthesia in able-bodied individuals, and determining a method by which the resulting motor block can be evaluated at the hand.

NEC Seminar, Friday, June 14
9:00 am, Nord 400
Speaker: Elizabeth Heald
Advisor: Prof. Peckham
Title: Response of below-injury EMG activity to biofeedback training in motor complete SCI

Abstract: Past research has revealed that, even in spinal cord injury (SCI) clinically diagnosed as motor complete, a majority of injuries have some degree of spared descending pathways. For example, epidural spinal cord stimulation has shown some success in promoting functional recovery in chronic, complete SCI; one theory is that this stimulation facilitates the activation of spared spinal pathways. We have previously reported volitional myoelectric activity recorded from the lower extremities of individuals with chronic motor complete SCI; this activity is below the threshold to produce movement but is evident through surface EMG recordings. We hypothesized that decreased or absent sensory feedback may interfere with the ability to reliably activate these spared pathways. Thus, we hypothesized that providing biofeedback of EMG signals to participants with motor complete SCI may improve their ability to activate muscles below the injury level. In this talk, I will present the results of a training protocol implementing visual and audio biofeedback of below-injury EMG signals in 3 participants with chronic motor complete SCI. A discussion of challenges faced during this work, as well as directions for future studies, will also be presented.

Thursday, June 6, 2019
NP Seminar - Industry Round Table

3:00PM, Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413

Speaker: Cameron McIntyre, PhD
Associate Director of Industrial Relations Cleveland FES Center
Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering Case Western Reserve University
Biomedical Engineer
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Friday, May 31, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Room Wickenden 105

Speaker: Ryan Reyes
Advisors: Prof. Triolo
Title: Development of a "Muscle First" Control Method for a Motor-Assisted Hybrid Exoskeleton for Walking After Paraplegia

Abstract:
We are developing a "Muscle First" Motor-Assisted Hybrid Neuroprosthesis (MAHNP), which uses implanted neural stimulation to activate the leg muscles to generate the majority of the forces required for walking, while an exoskeletal frame with motors augments or complements voluntary or stimulated muscle activity. Conventional commercially available exoskeletons depend on external motors at the hip and knee joints for all motive power, and are unable to move in response to voluntary or stimulated contractions because their transmissions are typically non-backdrivable. In contrast, the MAHNP features motorized backdrivable joints with low passive resistance which allow the user's muscles to drive the stepping motion. This presentation will discuss the development and verification in simulation of novel low-level control techniques to be implemented at the single joint level to maximize biological power and apply motor assistance as-needed, as well as the development of a higher-level controller to coordinate the movement across all joints for efficient stepping.

Friday, May 17, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Room Wickenden 105 (note location!)

Speaker: Sandra Hnat
Advisors: Drs. Triolo and Audu
Title: Estimating Center of Mass Kinematics During Human Standing Using Inertial Measurement Units

Abstract:
Commercialized powered exoskeletons aim to restore mobility for individuals with spinal cord injuries. These devices are worn in parallel to the user's affected lower-limbs, where electric motors at the joints generate walking, standing, and sitting motions. However, the phase-based impedance controllers used in these devices can only follow predefined trajectories and cannot correct for postural instabilities. Specific control systems are necessary to ensure balance during standing and walking with exoskeletons. Whole-body center of mass (COM) kinematics is an indicator of standing stability. Here, we present a method of calculating COM to be used as global feedback parameters for balance controllers based on simple, easily mounted inertial measurement units (IMUs) suitable for integrating into exoskeletal systems for community use. Our COM Estimation Algorithm is trained using able-bodied experimental data, where test subjects are perturbed during standing to cause measurable changes in their COM position. Test subjects are pulled via linear actuators in the anteroposterior and mediolateral directions (external perturbations). In another set of experiments, the subjects move weighted jars between different locations on a wire rack (internal perturbations). Kinematics inferred from reflective markers and a motion capture system are compared to estimates derived from body-mounted IMUs taped on the subject, which is used to train the algorithm. Preliminary results from one able-bodied subject will be presented and future experiment protocols will be discussed.

 

Friday, May 3, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Room Wickenden 105

Speaker: Kristen Gelenitis
Advisor: Prof. Triolo
Title: Selective Neural Stimulation-Induced Exercise after SCI

Abstract: A majority of the spinal cord injury (SCI) population is confined to a wheelchair. The resulting sedentary lifestyle often leads to muscle atrophy, bone density loss, and cardiovascular disease, as well as decreased independence and low perceived quality of life. Sufficient exercise can largely alleviate or prevent these secondary complications, but achieving adequate exercise volumes is impeded by limited voluntary muscle control. Electrical stimulation-induced exercise methods have been developed to involve the paralyzed musculature and provide a more complete, full body workout. Current stimulation protocols, however, still limit exercise duration due to rapid fatigue of the targeted muscles. We propose the use of duty cycle-reducing stimulation paradigms delivered through selective nerve cuff electrodes to delay muscle fatigue, prolong exercise duration, and maximize cardiovascular benefits. We hypothesize that by sequentially stimulating multiple independent yet synergistic fiber pools, we will allow some fibers to rest and recover while others maintain the desired output, ultimately increasing exercise endurance. Waveform parameters involved in duty-cycle reducing stimulation paradigms have been explored in-depth in an animal model. Major findings are currently being translated to a clinical study involving SCI participants implanted with selective femoral nerve cuffs. Preliminary clinical results from selective neural stimulation-induced cycling exercise trials will be presented, and future investigation directions will be discussed.

 

Friday, April 26, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Yang Zheng
Advisor: Dr. Isabelle Deschenes
Title: Dynamic Modulation of Cardiac Sodium Channel Coupling

Abstract: Cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) are worldwide leading causes of morbidity and mortality, accounting for 15-20% of all deaths. Mutations in the gene encoding Nav1.5, SCN5A, have been linked to a variety of arrhythmogenic diseases such as Long QT syndrome type III (LQT3) and Brugada syndrome (BrS) that can cause SCD. However, the mechanism of the channelopathy is not fully understood. The Nav1.5, or cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel, is a membrane protein found in cardiomyocytes responsible for the rapid upstroke of the action potential (AP) and thus is central for the genesis and development of cardiac arrhythmic diseases. Our lab has previously found that Nav1.5 α-subunits can assemble as dimers, and this physical coupling can lead to functional or biophysical coupling. The biophysical coupling of Nav1.5 could profoundly change the current knowledge of cardiac sodium channel biophysics. More importantly, we found that the coupling between the wildtype sodium channel and the diseased mutant can impair the function of the wildtype sodium channel. This finding suggests that the biophysical coupling plays an important role in cardiac arrhythmic disease phenotypes and could be a potential therapeutic target. In order to study the therapeutic potential of manipulating Nav1.5 biophysical coupling, we first need to study the regulation of the biophysical coupling. In a recent study, we identified the involvement of a Nav1.5 partner protein, 14-3-3, in the biophysical coupling. The binding activity of 14-3-3 is typically dependent on the phosphorylation of its target protein. Therefore, we speculate that regulating the biophysical coupling could be achieved by regulating phosphorylation of the Nav1.5 motif that controls 14-3-3 binding activity. PKA has been gaining great attention in the cardiovascular field due to its engagement in multiple pathological settings, and it has been shown to phosphorylate Nav1.5. Also, we have preliminary data suggesting that PKA can modulate the binding activity between 14-3-3 and Nav1.5. Hence we posit that the 'PKA - 14-3-3 - Nav1.5-biophyscial-coupling' pathway is essential in identifying therapeutic targets to manipulate the biophysical coupling between the wildtype Nav1.5 and mutants. We therefore hypothesize that biophysical coupling of Nav1.5 can be dynamically modulated by É¿-adrenergic stimulation/PKA phosphorylation, and has implication for cardiac sodium currents and action potentials under both normal and pathogenic conditions.

Friday, April 5, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Tyler Johnson
Advisor: Prof. D. Taylor
Title: Improving Neural Control of an FES Arm Model

Abstract: We are working on a method of controlling upper limb reaching with functional electrical stimulation (FES) where neural signals are put directly in control of muscle stimulation levels. Our model decodes cortical spiking activity into muscle activations and these resulting activations are sent to a Dynamic Arm Simulator (R. Kirsch lab) which realistically simulates the movements of a paralyzed human arm activated via FES. Subjects are then able to control this arm model by thinking about moving their own limbs while receiving visual feedback in the form of a cursor moving on a screen corresponding to the fingertip location of the model arm. The efficacy of this system is largely dependent upon the appropriateness of the transfer function that maps neural signals to muscle activations. To generate this transfer function, we are first building a lookup table of empirical data on the arm's response to stimulation and then using a pseudoinverse method to estimate muscle activations from the lookup table based on assumed intended movements. This process gives us a rough estimate of appropriate muscle activation to regress with neural signals to build the final transfer function. This process has previously been shown to work well but also inherently leads to a slight skewing of the resultant movement compared to the intended movement. This research seeks to better understand this skewing and develop methods to alleviate it for better FES control requiring less adaptation by the user.

 

Friday, March 29, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Youjoung Kim

Advisor: Prof. Capadona
Title: Localized Resveratrol Delivery Improves Recording Quality from Intracortical Microelectrodes

Abstract: Intracortical Microelectrodes (IMEs) are valuable tools in neuroscience and neurology that allow recording of neural activity. Unfortunately, signal quality from IMEs decreases over time, partly due to biological failure mechanisms. The inflammatory response elicited by the implant of the electrode, leads to the activation of glial cells, release of cytokines and other pro-inflammatory molecules, and encapsulation of the electrode. The inflammatory environment around the implant results in an increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to oxidative stress around the implant site. Increasing ROS levels may lead to neuronal cell death, increased inflammation, and the corrosion and delamination of the microelectrode surface. Our lab has previously investigated the use of resveratrol, an antioxidant, to mitigate the oxidative stress and inflammatory response surrounding the implant. Abdominal adhesions resulting from chronic repeated intraperitoneal delivery (IP) of resveratrol led us to investigate modes of localized drug delivery. The goal of this study is to examine the effects intracerebroventricular (ICV) delivery of resveratrol has on electrophysiological recording quality and stability, as well as resulting neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. We hypothesize that ICV resveratrol delivery will mitigate oxidative stress around the electrode, ultimately leading to prolonged recording quality and neuron health, without the side effects seen with IP delivery. Sixteen Sprague Dawley rats were implanted with a silicon, single shank, 16 channel intracortical microelectrode in the motor cortex, with eight animals in each group. Resveratrol group animals were also implanted with an Alzet Osmotic Pump and brain infusion kit, loaded with a solution of 500mM pure trans-resveratrol powder dissolved in Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG200). Electrophysiology and end-point histology were evaluated and found that the experimental group showed significant (p<0.05) improvement in recording performance (units per channel and percentage of channels recording single units). However, end-point histology showed an insignificant difference between the control and resveratrol groups for activated astrocytes, activated microglia, neuronal density, blood brain, and permeability. Results for oxidative stress markers 4-hydroxynonenal (oxidized lipids) and nitrotyrosine (oxidized proteins) will be discussed further in the presentation.

 

Friday, March 22, 2019
NP Seminar

8:30 AM, Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413

Speaker: Kenneth Baker, PhD
Investigator
Cleveland FES Center
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

Title: Deep Brain Stimulation: Developing, Optimizing, and Understanding Therapeutic Strategies in Stroke and Parkinson's Disease

Kenneth Baker, PhD has over twenty years of experience in deep brain stimulation (DBS), both clinically and in the laboratory. His research interests largely involve the therapeutic application and mechanisms of neurostimulation-based approaches to neurologic and psychiatric disease, with a particular focus on the use of DBS for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. In his presentation, Dr. Baker will provide an overview of the preclinical and clinical research studies currently underway in his laboratory.

Current NIH-supported projects include 1) developing and testing novel DBS paradigms to enhance therapeutic outcomes in Parkinson's disease, 2) optimizing deep cerebellar stimulation to enhance chronic, post-stroke rehabilitation and 3) an on-going, phase I clinical trial of cerebellar dentate nucleus DBS in human stroke patients.

 

Friday, March 8, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Presenter: Joseph Marmerstein
Ph.D. Candidate, Biomedical Engineering

Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Chronic Recording of Rat Vagal Tone with Carbon Nanotube Yarn Electrodes

Abstract:
The study of small peripheral nerves such as those in the autonomic nervous system holds great promise for the detection and treatment of a variety of pathologies. In particular, the vagus nerve, which is a highway of autonomic activity, has been receiving increased attention due to it's interaction with nearly every internal organ in the body. Additionally, vagal tone is a clinical measure that is generally correlated with patient outcomes in many diseases, leading to interest in the vagus nerve as a therapeutic target for everything from epilepsy to autoimmune disorders. However, vagal tone has never been directly measured and is only correlated to clinical factors such as heart rate variability. Dr. Durand's group has developed a novel way for interfacing with the vagus, via carbon nanotube (CNT) yarn microelectrodes. A possible direct measure of vagal tone is explored, using ECG monitoring to average vagal signals during periods of heart rate increase and decrease. Vagal activity is increased during periods of heart rate decrease, mirroring known behavior of cardiac vagal efferent fibers.

Note: There will not be a seminar on March 15 during Spring Break.

 

Friday, March 1, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Presenter: Kelsey Bower
NIH Predoctoral Fellow, McIntyre Lab

Title: Deep brain stimulation of afferent axon terminals: the effect of myelination

Abstract:
Numerous cell types exist in the region of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), including fibers of passage, local STN cells, and terminating STN afferents. Histological studies in the rat have identified "hyperdirect" axons which originate in motor cortex and project terminating collaterals to the STN. Recent optogenetic studies, capable of dissecting the neural circuitry and selectively stimulating these distinct neural elements, suggest that cortico-STN afferents may play an important role in the therapeutic effects of DBS. The goal of this study is to identify the behavior of terminating afferents in response to DBS using a computational modeling approach.

A computational model of a branched axon terminal was generated, with a structure that mimicked a hyperdirect axon. The axons were placed within the internal capsule of a FEM of the human head in order to best represent the location of the hyperdirect pathway. Activation thresholds of terminating fibers were compared to that of diameter-matched fibers of passage to identify the effects of termination. Myelinated terminating axons exhibited lower activation thresholds than diameter-matched fibers of passage, however unmyelinated terminating axons showed the opposite trend. These results show that the degree of myelination can affect the relative excitability of these structures.

Friday, February 22, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Ivana Cuberovic
Advisor: Prof. Tyler

Title: The perceptual and psychological experience of a sensory feedback prosthesis over two months of home use

Abstract: A prosthesis can replace the functional capabilities of a lost hand and modify the user's perception of their body. Prior studies have shown that sensory feedback provided through electrical stimulation or targeted muscle reinnervation promotes prosthesis embodiment. However, the time course of this process has not been elucidated. Extended usage of a sensory feedback prosthesis may lead to progressive changes in sensory or bodily perception, as the user learns to integrate the artificial sensory information into their preconscious sensorimotor processes and conscious body perceptions and attitudes. In this case study, we examined how passive learning over two months of home use of a sensory-enabled prosthetic hand influences sensory perception, functional performance, and psychosocial outcomes. Sensory feedback was provided to a participant with unilateral upper limb loss via electrical stimulation through implanted neural interfaces, and the sensations were controlled by three pressure sensors and one joint angle sensor embedded in a myoelectric prosthetic hand.

We examined the impact of extended daily usage of the sensory-enabled prosthesis on the evoked sensory percepts by tracking perceived sensation intensity, quality, and location at system donning and doffing each day. Across days of home use, ratings for negative quality descriptors, such as "unpleasant" or "sharp", did not vary significantly from 0 for any. Conversely, ratings for descriptors that were congruent with sensor usage, including "natural", "pressure", "contact", and "vibrating", increased over time for some channels. Reported sensory locations also changed throughout the study. For two of the tactile channels, the location moved towards the sensor location over time. At earlier time points, this the sensation location shifted throughout a day of usage towards the sensor location. At later time points, the congruent sensory location was retained, overlapping the sensor location immediately upon donning.

We assess the impact of passive learning on performance of functional tasks. As previously reported, the subject's ability to determine the size or compliance of an object improved significantly when he had sensory feedback as compared to when he did not. While both the subject's performance and confidence increased with time, these trends were not significant.

Finally, we investigated the psychosocial experience of prosthesis use through daily surveys. Psychosocial survey scores of self-efficacy, prosthesis embodiment, social touch with the prosthesis, and perceived prosthesis efficiency improved significantly within the first month. Survey scores of perceived disability also showed significant improvement, albeit over a longer time course. Our findings suggest that passive learning modulates the perceptual and psychological experience of a sensory-enabled prosthesis over time.

 

Friday, February 8, 2019 CANCELED
NP Seminar

10 AM, Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413

Speaker: Adam Gazzaley MD., PhD
Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco and the Founder & Executive Director of Neuroscape

Title: Technology meets Neuroscience - A Vision of the Future of Brain Optimization

A fundamental challenge of modern society is the development of effective approaches to enhance brain function and cognition in both the healthy and impaired. For the healthy, this should be a core mission of our educational system and for the cognitively impaired this is the primary goal of our medical system. Unfortunately, neither of these systems have effectively met this challenge. I will describe a novel approach developed at UCSF's Neuroscape and advanced by Akili Interactive that uses custom-designed video games to achieve meaningful and sustainable cognitive enhancement via personalized closed-loop systems (Nature 2013; Neuron 4014). I will also share with you the next stage of our research program, which integrates our video games with the latest technological innovations in software (e.g., brain computer interface algorithms, GPU computing, cloud-based analytics) and hardware (e.g., virtual reality, mobile EEG, motion capture, physiological recording devices (watches), transcranial brain stimulation) to further enhance our brain's information processing systems with the ultimate aim of improving quality of life.

 

Friday, February 1, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, NORD 400

Speaker: Nicholas Couturier
Advisor: Prof. Durand

Abstract
Problem: Epilepsy is one of the most pervasive neurological disorders, affecting approximately 1% of the world's population. Each year it is estimated that there are between 16 and 51 new patients diagnosed with an epilepsy disorder per 100,000 people. Unfortunately, around 20% of these patients do not respond to antiepileptic medication. The most common alternative to medication is surgical resection; however, most patients are not eligible for resection due to an inability to identify a well‐defined epileptogenic region that is not colocalized with any eloquent cortex. Furthermore, of the patients who are eligible for surgical resection, only about half gain freedom from seizures. More recently, several deep brain stimulation technologies have been developed around the unmet need for seizure suppression in patients for whom medication and surgery are not viable options. These FDA approved DBS therapies rely on high-frequency (HFS) (>100Hz) grey matter stimulation of either the focus itself or the anterior nucleus of the thalamus. The results of these methods have been mixed with about 50% of patients obtaining a greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency.

Methods: 4-Aminopyridine (4-AP) was injected in the motor cortex and recording electrodes were placed in the contralateral cortex and hippocampus to monitor activity. Bipolar stimulating electrodes were placed in the medial aspect of the corpus callosum. Local field potentials were recorded 1 hour before, during, and after stimulation to determine the effect of stimulation on seizure duration.

Results: Our latest publication demonstrates a 90% suppression of cortical seizures in this acute model of cortical epilepsy. Seizures were suppressed in the hippocampus as well as the cortex only when stimulation was applied at low frequencies (10-20Hz).

Relevance: Our lab has developed a novel technique for suppressing seizures with DBS. White matter low frequency stimulation (LFS) (≤20Hz) provides a means of lowering the excitability of a large portion of the brain simultaneously. We are currently performing direct comparisons between currently available DBS methods and CCLFS in a similar acute model of focal cortical epilepsy. Selective stimulation of this large fiber tract may provide a powerful new tool in treating cortical epilepsies.

 

Friday, January 25, 2019
NP Seminar

8:30 AM, Wolstein Room 1413

Speaker: Christos Davatzikos, PhD
Wallace T. Miller Sr., Professor of Radiology
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Title: Machine Learning in Neuroimaging: Applications to Clinical Neuroscience and Neurooncology

 

Friday, January 18, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Breanne Christie
Advisors: Dr. Triolo and Dr. Tyler
Title: Preliminary results on a skilled walking task after restoring lower-limb sensory feedback

Abstract
Plantar sensory feedback plays an important role during balance [Perry 2000, Billot 2013] and gait [Hohne 2012]. If it is eliminated, people can typically compensate using their remaining musculoskeletal, visual, cognitive, and vestibular resources [Geurts 1992]. Few functional tasks can directly isolate and evaluate the role of plantar cutaneous feedback in one foot at a time. One such test, called the "horizontal ladder rung walking test" has identified minor sensorimotor impairments in rats [Metz 2002], cats [Bouyer and Rossignol 2003], and monkeys [Higurashi 2009]. During this test, a ladder was laid horizontally on the ground and the animal was trained to walk across without slipping and touching the ground. In our study, two unilateral trans-tibial amputees performed this skilled walking task. In half of the trials, somatosensory percepts were evoked by electrically stimulating residual lower-limb nerves via cuff electrodes. Stimulation parameters varied as a function of plantar pressure, as measured by force-sensing insoles placed underneath the prostheses. Somatosensory percepts were evoked in the amputee's missing forefoot, midfoot, and/or rearfoot to signify which the region of the prosthetic foot that was in contact with a ladder rung. Using video recordings, we measured foot placement accuracy, the number of searching taps per ladder rung, and trial time. Preliminary results show that in one out of two participants, searching strategy changed and foot placement was more accurate during trials with sensory feedback.

Friday, January 11, 2019
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Natalie Cole
Advisor: Prof. Bolu Ajiboye
Title: Time-invariant Muscle Synergies from Dynamic Hand Function

Abstract
The present study investigates the use of low-dimensional muscle coordination patterns (i.e. synergies) as a framework for creating high-dimensional muscle activation patterns associated with complex hand movements. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop muscle synergy based command interfaces for Functional Electrical Stimulation neuroprostheses that restore dexterous grasp function to persons with mid-cervical level (C5/C6) spinal cord injury. Muscle synergies extracted from a limited set of hand postures have been successfully used to reconstruct the muscle activation patterns required to reproduce a wide range of new hand postures. However, it is unclear whether muscle synergy modules can be used to reproduce the time-varying muscle activation patterns observed during functional hand movements involving object interactions. Additionally, with the end goal of neuroprosthetic control, it must be determined whether as few as three synergies can reproduce time-varying muscle activation. This work examines whether a low-dimensional set of synergies can be extracted from and recreate muscle activation patterns observed during time-varying (non-isometric) hand function as well as or better than static synergies derived from (isometric) hand postures.

2018

Friday, December 7, 2018
NP Seminar

8:30 AM, Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413

Speaker: Mark Griswold, PhD
Professor, Dept. of Radiology, School of Medicine

 

Friday, November 30, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 204

Speaker: Cale Crowder
Advisor: Bob Kirsch, PhD
Title: Towards a Universal Brain-Computer Interface Decoder

Abstract
People with AIS-A spinal cord injuries at levels C1-C4 experience paralysis of all four limbs. In order to alleviate paralysis of the upper extremity, our research group uses an intracortical brain-computer interface to control a functional electrical stimulation system. Our brain-computer interface estimates how participants intend to move using an algorithm called a "decoder." However, this decoder must be recalibrated daily, and it must be retrained for different study participants. During this seminar, we will discuss methods for improving decoders to make them stable across days, and potentially across participants.

 

Friday, November 16, 2018
NP Seminar

8:30 am Wolstein Research Building, Room 1413
Speaker: Nanthia Suthana, PhD
Assistant Professor-in-Residence
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Department of Neurosurgery
Title: Brain Implants, Virtual Reality, and Treatment of Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Abstract
Progress in neuroprosthetics and virtual reality technology provide unprecedented opportunities to discover the neural substrates of human cognition, specifically to examine and modulate deep brain activity during real world behaviors such as spatial navigation and episodic memory. In this talk Dr. Suthana will discuss current findings and ongoing projects using recordings deep from within the brain in freely moving humans combined with full body motion capture and virtual reality methodologies to understand functions such as spatial navigation and episodic learning and memory. She will also discuss ongoing projects underway that utilize deep brain stimulation and recordings in ways that are relevant for characterizing and treating neuropsychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

Friday, November 9, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 204
Speaker: Rajat Shivacharan
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Self-propagating, non-synaptic hippocampal waves travel by electric field coupling

Abstract
It is well documented that synapses play a significant role in the transmission of information between neurons in the brain. However, in the absence of synaptic transmission, neural activity has been observed to continue to propagate. Experiments conducted in our lab have shown that propagation of epileptiform behavior in rodent hippocampi propagates at a speed of ~0.1 m/s. This observed activity propagates independently of synaptic transmission and gap junctions and is outside the range of ionic diffusion and axonal conduction speeds. Computer simulations of pyramidal neurons indicate that ephaptic coupling, or electric field coupling, could be responsible for this propagation of neural activity in pathological conditions such as epilepsy. Recent studies suggest electric fields can activate neighboring neurons, thereby generating a self-propagating wave. However, there is no experimental data suggesting ephaptic coupling is necessary and sufficient for spontaneous, self-regenerating propagation of neural activity. Using in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology in combination with imaging of trans-membrane voltages using genetically encoded voltage indicators, we test the hypothesis that ephaptic coupling is a critical mechanism for self-propagating, non-synaptic neural propagation.

 

Friday November 2, 2018
NEC seminar
9:00 AM, Nord 204
Speaker: Sydney Song
Advisor: Prof. Capadona
Title: Targeting ROS in Order to Prolong the Lifespan of Intracortically Implanted Microelectrodes

Abstract
Intracortical microelectrodes implanted in the brain can record action potentials from individual neurons. The recorded action potentials can be used both for basic research and for clinical rehabilitation purposes. Unfortunately, the implanted devices fail rather quickly, often within months to years. This is due to the damage the device causes the brain, and due to the brain's rejection of the implanted foreign objects. One mechanism of failure we focus on is neurolinflammation and subsequent neurodegeneration driven by the activation of microglia cells, which are resident macrophages of the brain. Microglia cells becomes activated when they sense potential insults to the brain. Once activated, they secrete a number of inflammatory mediators and toxic substances in an attempt to eliminate potential threats. One such factor secreted is Reactive Oxygen Species, which damages DNA, proteins, and cell membrane, killing or severely injuring cells surrounding the microelectrodes. These reactive oxygen species also lead to material damage of the electrode such as corrosion. Our goal is to coat the electrodes with potential antioxidant to diminish the activity of ROS, lessening the injury ROS causes surrounding cells and electrodes. We hypothesize that our approaches will ultimately prolong recording lifespan of the microelectrodes, so that they can become useful both in basic research and clinical application.

 

Friday October 26, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 204
Speaker: Christopher Delianides
Advisor: Dr. Triolo
Title: Balanced Human Ankle Motion Using Implanted Tibial and Fibular Nerve Cuffs

Abstract
Selective stimulation of peripheral nerve fascicles via implanted multi-contact Nerve Cuff Electrodes (NCEs) has been shown to help restore motor functions such as standing and stepping. To achieve a functional and natural gait pattern, net moments generated through stimulation should be sufficiently strong along the axis of motion, while minimal and balanced along minor axes. Here, we attempt to achieve this balanced motion at the ankle joint for a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) subject with bilaterally implanted 8-contact NCEs on the tibial and fibular nerves. Using combinations of individual contacts activating independent motor unit populations, our goal is to determine to what degree we can achieve balanced motion, and secondly, to what degree this depends on the order in which contacts are activated. As an indicator of the long term affects of NCEs on subject condition, we additionally tracked clinical measures of neurophysiologic health over a period of 6 months.

Our results indicate that balanced plantar flexion was more achievable for the left leg than for the right, with balanced dorsiflexion proving difficult to achieve for either leg. Part of this may stem from observed changes in each contact's moment output between initial collection and combination testing, as well as subject fatigue and invoked reflexive activity. Variation between the three stimulation paradigms was low across all trials, providing evidence against the combinatorial moment being path-dependent.Clinical data supports a preservation of nerve health over the testing period, with compound motor and sensory potentials remaining stable.

 

Friday October 19, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 204
Speaker: Chia-Chu Chiang, Ph.D.
Advisor: Prof. Dominique Durand
Title: Slow oscillations during sleep propagate by ephaptic coupling

Abstract
Slow oscillations are a standard feature observed in the cortex and the hippocampus during slow wave sleep. Slow oscillations are characterized by low-frequency periodic activity (<1Hz) and are thought to be related to memory consolidation. These waves are assumed to be a reflection of the underlying neural activity, but it is not known if they can, by themselves, be self-sustained and propagate. Previous studies have shown that slow periodic activity can be reproduced in the in-vitro preparation to mimic in-vivo slow oscillations. Slow periodic activity can propagate with speeds around 0.1 m/s and be modulated by weak electric fields. In the present study, we show that slow periodic activity in the longitudinal hippocampal slice is a self-regenerating wave which can propagate with and without chemical or electrical synaptic transmission at the same speeds. We also show that applying local extracellular electric fields can modulate or even block the propagation of this wave both in in-silico and in-vitro models. Our results support the notion that ephaptic coupling plays a significant role in the propagation of the slow hippocampal periodic activity. Moreover, these results indicate that a neural network can give rise to sustained self-propagating waves by ephaptic coupling, suggesting a novel propagation mechanism for neural activity under normal physiological conditions.

 

Friday, October 12, 2018
NP Seminar
8:30am, DeGrace Hall Room 312
Speaker: Cameron McIntyre
Investigator, Cleveland FES Center
Title: Connectomic Deep Brain Stimulation

Abstract
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been a successful clinical therapy, primarily used to treat movement disorders, for over 30 years. In attempts to expand the clinical indications for DBS, as well as improve outcomes from the therapy, a major focus of present day DBS research is in the development of patient-specific MRI-based surgical targeting strategies for electrode placement. This work is leveraging advances in both anatomical and diffusion-weighted imaging to provide patient-specific connectomic maps of the brain networks being modulated by DBS, which are helping to elucidate optimal stimulation strategies for different disorders. This talk will highlight how these new computational imaging tools are being created and used to improve the clinical application of DBS for a wide range of indications, including depression and Parkinson's disease.

 

Friday October 5, 2018
NEC seminar

Nord 204, 9:00 AM
Speaker: Anisha Rastogi
Research Advisor: Dr. Bolu Ajiboye
Title: Evaluating the effects of volitional state on force representation in motor cortex of intracortical BCI users with chronic tetraplegia

Background
Intracortical brain computer interfaces (iBCIs) have the potential to restore hand grasping in individuals with tetraplegia. While most human-operated iBCIs have utilized only kinematic information from motor cortex, natural grasping and object interaction also requires the use of force-related information. Previous fMRI literature suggests that despite deafferentation-induced cortical reorganization, force-related neural activity may be preserved in individuals with tetraplegia, and that neural representation of force may be affected by volitional state, i.e., whether motor activity is observed, imagined, or attempted (Cramer 2005). Here, we characterize the extent of neural modulation during observed, imagined, and attempted hand grasping forces at the resolution of action potentials in persons with chronic tetraplegia. We also characterize how volitional state affects our ability to discriminate intended force outputs from neural activity. Methods: Participants of the BrainGate2 Clinical Trial were asked to observe, imagine, and attempt to produce three discrete force levels (light, medium, hard) with the dominant upper limb, using a power grasp and a pincer grasp. During the task, full broadband neural recordings were obtained from two, 96-channel microelectrode arrays (Blackrock Microsystems, Salt Lake City, UT) in the dominant motor cortex. From each channel, we extracted two time-varying neural features (spike firing rates and high frequency spike power). We applied 2-way ANOVA to each feature to determine tuning to force and volitional state. To elucidate the extent of force representation at the level of the neural population, we applied demixed principal component analysis (dPCA) to the extracted neural features (Kobak 2016). The resulting dPCs were used to offline-discriminate discrete forces produced during each volitional state. Results and Conclusions: In multiple participants, we found that force-related activity was preserved in motor cortex, both at the single-feature level and at the population level. Most force-tuned features exhibited mixed selectivity to force and volitional state; i.e., they were either independently tuned to both factors, or they exhibited a statistically significant interaction between force and volitional state (2-way ANOVA, p<=0.01). Intended forces were discriminated significantly above chance at the resolution of 20-ms time windows, and were best discriminated during attempted force production. These results support the feasibility of incorporating real-time force control into closed-loop iBCI systems intended for human use.

 

Friday September 28, 2018
NEC seminar

Nord 204, 9:00 AM
Speaker: Nabeel Chowdhury
Research Advisor: Dr. Dustin Tyler
Title: Reduced Simple Reaction Times to Peripheral Nerve Stimulation May Indicate Preconscious Processing of Tactile Feedback

Abstract
The majority of prosthetic users must rely on using their vision as their only form of feedback when performing daily tasks and restricts the user to focusing on individual actions. Haptic feedback could overcome this limitation and allow users to multitask by reducing some of the mental effort of the task. Despite the advent of various haptic feedback mechanisms though, they are not utilized very effectively. Vibrotactile feedback, the most common form of haptic feedback, has been shown to be only marginally better than vision alone. Cortical stimulation of the somatosensory cortex was meant to eliminate the transmission delay from the fingertip to the brain to result in faster utilization of the feedback, yet it results in a significant processing delay before the feedback can be utilized. Both of these feedback methods skip the normal transmission pathway of tactile feedback, which suggests that there is some inherent benefit to receiving feedback directly through the peripheral nerve track of the amputated hand. In this talk, I use the simple reaction time to a task as a metric for the processing delay to feedback and I compare the results of subjects who receive peripheral nerve stimulation to reported simple reaction times to vibrotactile stimulation. Preliminary results of the study show that subjects who receive peripheral nerve stimulation can react to tactile feedback much faster than individuals who received vibrotactile feedback. This suggests that peripheral nerve stimulation is preprocessed at a preconscious level and can result in a more efficient usage when compared to vibrotactile stimulation.

Friday September 14, 2018
NEC seminar

NOTE LOCATION: Nord 240, 9:00 AM
Speaker: Hillary Bedell
Advisor: Prof. Capadona
Title: A review of active anti-inflammatory approaches to reduce the biological response to intracortical microelectrodes

Abstract
One of the current tools used to probe the brain is the intracortical microelectrode which can record from single neurons or small populations of neurons. Despite the enthusiasm for brain interfacing technologies which utilize the intracortical microelectrode, it is widely understood that microelectrodes exhibit limited long-term viability where recordings typically fail 6 months to 1 year after implantation. This is due to multimodal failure mechanisms including the biological response. There are many strategies undertaken by research groups to reduce this biological response to intracortical microelectrodes. This talk will outline different active anti-inflammatory approaches being explored to reduce the inflammatory response to these devices. The talk will end detailing my current work—an exploratory study to find key molecular players in neuroinflammation in response to intracortical microelectrodes.

 

Friday August 10, 2018
NEC seminar

Nord 400, 9:00 AM
Speaker: Hendrik Dewald
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: Impact of Peripheral Nerve Block on Flexion Synergy Expression at the Wrist and Hand in Stroke

Abstract
Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability, affecting about 3% of males and 2% of females nationwide. Following a hemiparetic stroke, the majority of individuals suffer a loss of independent joint control through the consistent expression of abnormal limb synergies. These synergies significantly impair paretic limb reach distance and hand use, with activation of shoulder abductor muscles becoming intrinsically coupled with flexion at the elbow, wrist, and hand. More severely impaired individuals may not be able to open the hand, even with the weight of the paretic arm supported.

Recent research has shown that these synergies originate in the central nervous system and that there is no change in muscle passive stiffness properties at the fingers. Rather, the ongoing and continuous activation of flexors due to the abnormal drive is at play. The studies proposed here intend to circumvent this abnormal command from the central nervous system through the application of a peripheral nerve block, potentially preventing the abnormal activation of wrist and finger flexors.

Firstly, we will characterize the impact of ulnar and ulnar/median nerve block by lidocaine on hand opening and synergy-induced unintentional grasp forces in stroke patients. Secondly, we will observe the lidocaine block's effect on prediction of intent by electromyographic signals and efficacy of surface-based functional electrical stimulation assistive devices. We hypothesize that blocking these nerves will reduce abnormal wrist and finger flexor hypertonicity significantly and improve control of, and intent-derivation for, assistive approaches.

Lastly, we will investigate the possible future application of more clinically relevant high-frequency alternating current nerve conduction block techniques through observation of a surface-based tibial nerve block in able-bodied individuals. We hypothesize that the onset response of these techniques will not cause significant discomfort to subjects.

Should this exploratory study reveal sufficient efficacy of nerve block in the relief of flexor hypertonicity in stroke and minimal discomfort from the onset response, new opportunities in stroke rehabilitation interventions become possible. This includes the use of implanted nerve cuff electrodes to implement partial or complete nerve block, thus making the use of FES to power hand function viable.

 

Friday July 27, 2018
NEC seminar

Nord 400, 9:00 AM
Speaker: Alistair McEwan
Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation
The University of Sydney
Cerebral Palsy Alliance
Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation Coordinator, BMET
Institute Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies
Title: Neural interfaces for cerebral palsy

Abstract
From an engineering point of view I will outline the latest understanding and needs in Cerebral Palsy, the most common childhood disability with no cure and delayed diagnosis. We will also describe opportunities for control of muscle groups, spasticity and sensory perception including pain. While people with spinal cord injury have been the target of motor prosthesis to date there are additional challenges to explore in cerebral palsy such as developmental differences and viable afferent pathways that may convey pain and other sensory signals. We see opportunities in both central and peripheral stimulation and monitoring. Our group has a background in impedance recordings which might be used as a novel monitoring tool or to optimise stimulation patterns. We also use electrical tissue properties to better identify pathological tissue and guide electrical stimulation, electroporation and heating in the management of electrical signalling pathways.

 

Friday July 20, 2018
NEC seminar

Nord 400, 9:00 AM
Speaker: Elizabeth Heald
Advisors: Prof. Peckham
Title: Utilizing Muscle Activity from Below the Spinal Cord Injury Level for Neuroprosthetic Control

Abstract
As neuroprosthetic technology improves, there is an increased need for command signals to control the additional functionality that can be provided to users. In a previous study, EMG recordings from the lower extremity of subjects with motor complete SCI indicated that the majority showed some degree of volitional activity in at least one muscle, even though no joint movement was observed. This is in agreement with a growing body of work indicating that even in motor complete SCI, most cases still demonstrate some axonal sparing across the lesion. If descending motor commands can be volitionally and reliably produced, the EMG generated may be used as a command signal, even if it is too small to produce discernable joint movement. Utilizing these signals as command inputs could offer an innovative solution to the problem of too few control signals in current neural prosthesis systems. In this talk, results will be presented from an experiment demonstrating feasibility of using below-injury myoelectric activity as a command signal for an upper extremity grasp neuroprosthesis. In addition, I will discuss a biofeedback training paradigm which is being implemented in an ongoing study with the goal of improving the quality of weak below-injury muscle signals to that which would be useful for neuroprosthetic control.

Friday July 14, 2018
NEC seminar

Nord 400, 9:00 AM
Speaker: Dr. Brooke Odle
Advisors: Drs. Ron Triolo and Musa Audu
Title: Estimating the Interaction Forces of the Upper Extremities and Support Devices

Abstract
Knowledge of upper extremity (UE) effort exerted on a support device under real world conditions is important for understanding the voluntary contributions to the postural shifts by persons with motor or sensory disorders to complete many activities of daily living while standing. This information is critical to further advance the development of neural stimulation control systems for enhancing balance during standing and walking after paralysis. In this talk, experimental pilot studies that resulted in the development and evaluation of linear models that accurately account for intact volitional control exerted by the UEs on a support device will be presented and discussed.

Friday June 29
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400
Speaker: Jessica De Abreu
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: Virtual reality models for studying object interaction effects in BCI-controlled reaching tasks

Abstract
Recent studies using brain computer interfaces (BCI) demonstrated unexpected changes in neural activity when participants attempted to interact with objects. In order to restore motor function to people with paralysis, it is important to characterize changes in neural activity that may occur during interaction with objects and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms driving these changes. In this talk we will introduce virtual reality (VR) models as tools for investigating how neural activity changes during tasks that require interaction with objects. We will provide a brief tutorial about how to implement realistic virtual reality simulations. The audience should expect to leave with a basic understanding of how VR models implement physics and how current VR software supports and limits VR model usage in neuroscience and neuroengineering.

Friday, June 22, 2108
NP Seminar
Noon, BRB 105
Speaker: Peter Kirkwood,PhD
Emeritus Reader
Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience & Movement Disorders
Institute of Neurology
University College London
Title: Following Sherrington: Integration in Intercostal Motoneurons

Abstract
Since Sherrington, the spinal motoneuron is well known as the integrator of many different inputs. However, assessing what contribution each of these sources makes to bring any motoneuron to threshold in a natural movement is mostly unknown. Respiration, as a motor act that proceeds relatively normally under experimental conditions, is very valuable in this regard and among various muscles whose motoneurons receive a respiratory signal, particularly useful data may be obtained from the intercostals.

Friday, June 15, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Ryan Reyes
Advisor: Prof. Ron Triolo
Title: Development and Metabolic Testing of a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis for Walking After Paraplegia

Abstract
Traditional commercial exoskeletons enable persons paralyzed by spinal cord injury (SCI) to regain ambulatory function. We are developing a "Muscle First" Motor-Assisted Hybrid Neuroprosthesis (MAHNP), which uses implanted neural stimulation to activate the leg muscles in order to generate the majority of the forces required for walking. Conventional commercially available exoskeletons are unable to be driven by the muscles due to having non-backdrivable transmissions at the joint, and depend on external motors at the joints for all motive power. However, the MAHNP features motorized backdrivable joints with low passive resistance which allow the user's muscles to produce the majority of forces required for ambulation. It is possible to reduce the passive resistance to near zero with active motor compensation. To inform future decisions in our exoskeleton design, we tested the effect of motorized friction compensation on the metabolic cost of using the MAHNP with able-bodied subjects. We found that the decrease of passive friction from 6 Nm of torque to 0 Nm of torque was not statistically significant. The implications of these results will be discussed, as well as our current and future development goals.

Friday, June 8, 2018
NP Seminar

8:30 am, Linsalata Alumni Center, Foster Castele Great Hall
Case Western Reserve University

Speaker: Tim Denison, PhD
Vice President of Research and Core Technology, Medtronic
Title: Designing for Value: One Positive and One Disastrous Case Study

For more information, please contact Cheryl Dudek
(216) 231-3257 cdudek@FEScenter.org

Live stream video link for each lecture at www.FEScenter.org/Seminar

Friday, June 1, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Kelsey Bower
Advisor: Prof. McIntyre
Title: Modeling deep brain stimulation of afferent axon terminals: the role of axon morphology and head model complexity

Abstract
Numerous cell types exist in the region of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), including fibers of passage, local STN cells, and terminating STN afferents. Histological studies in the rat have identified "hyperdirect" axons which originate in motor cortex and project terminating collaterals to the STN. Recent optogenetic studies, capable of dissecting the neural circuitry and selectively stimulating these distinct neural elements, suggest that cortico-STN afferents may play an important role in the therapeutic effects of DBS. The goal of this study is to identify the behavior of terminating afferents in response to DBS using a computational modeling approach.

A computational model of a branched axon terminal was generated, with a structure that mimicked hyperdirect axons. Two models of the human head were also generated, representing a simple and a realistic head model. The axon models were placed within the internal capsule of the head model in order to best represent the location of the hyperdirect pathway. Activation thresholds of terminating fibers were compared to that of diameter-matched fibers of passage to identify the effects of termination. Small diameter terminating fibers exhibited lower thresholds than diameter-matched fibers of passage, however this trend was reversed in some large diameter fibers. Results suggest that numerous parameters affect the relative excitability of terminating axons, including morphology and electrical properties of the terminal nodes.

Friday, May 25, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Joseph Marmerstein, Ph.D. Candidate, Biomedical Engineering
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Chronic Recording of Rat Vagal Tone with Carbon Nanotube Yarn Electrodes

Abstract
The study of small peripheral nerves such as those in the autonomic nervous system holds great promise for the detection and treatment of a variety of pathologies. In particular, the vagus nerve, which is a highway of autonomic activity, has been receiving increased attention due to it's interaction with nearly every internal organ in the body. Additionally, vagal tone is a clinical measure that is generally correlated with patient outcomes in many diseases, leading to interest in the vagus nerve as a therapeutic target for everything from epilepsy to autoimmune disorders. However, vagal tone has never been directly measured and is only correlated to clinical factors such as heart rate variability. Dr. Durand's group has developed a novel way for interfacing with the vagus, via carbon nanotube (CNT) yarn microelectrodes. A new technique for CNT yarn implantation may increase yield and allow this technology to be more easily used by other researchers. These CNT yarn electrodes have been implanted chronically in the vagus nerve of rats, and may allow for a true measurement of vagal tone for the first time.

Note: There will not be an NEC Seminar on Friday May 11.

Friday, May 4, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Brian Sanner, Ph.D Candidate
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: Verification Testing of an Inline High Density Connector for Implanted Functional Electrical Stimulation

Abstract
An inline high density connector (I-HDC) with 34 independent channels was developed to minimize volume displacement of tissue while creating a robust, chronic, system for modularizing and managing the wire leads of implanted functional electrical systems (FES). The HDC was fabricated in two configurations, a loopback (LB-HDC), which is implanted subcutaneously and has groups of channels shorted together to test connectivity and crosstalk over chronic periods, and the inline configuration, which connects the percutaneous leads to the proximal side of the HDC and the distal side to a 16-channel c-FINE. These were implanted in the feline model (n=3 and n=2, respectively) for the first round of testing to verify functional requirements, with current findings in the ongoing study to be presented here.

Friday, April 27, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Prof. Mortimer
Topic: Authorship

Prof. Mortimer has provided the following two documents for reading prior to the meeting:
Authorship (doc)
Examples (doc)

Friday, April 13, 2018
APTC Distinguished Lecture Series

11am-12pm, Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, Room NE1-205

Speaker: Shelley Fried, PhD
Title: Restoring function with neural prostheses: work towards the development of more effective stimulation strategies

Dr. Shelley Fried is a Health Scientist at the Boston VA Medical Center and an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, MA. Dr. Fried has a PhD in Vision Science from UC Berkeley where he studied the mechanisms by which the normal retina transforms light into neural signals. He did postdoctoral training at both UC Berkeley and at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston studying electric stimulation of the retina. His research explores how and why neurons respond to artificial stimulation with the goal of developing improved methods and strategies. Active areas of research include electric stimulation of the retina, magnetic stimulation of primary visual cortex and the function of the early visual pathways. Prior to obtaining his PhD, Dr. Fried worked for 12 years in the medical device industry developing a wide range of anesthesia and respiratory therapy products.

For more information, please go to https://friedlab.mgh.harvard.edu/

 

Friday, April 13, 2018
NP Seminar

8:30am, BRB 105

Speaker: Sliman Bensmaia, PhD
Title: Biological and Bionic Hands: Natural Neural Coding and Artificial Perception

Abstract
Our ability to manipulate objects dexterously relies fundamentally on sensory signals originating from the hand. To restore motor function with upper-limb neuroprostheses requires that somatosensory feedback be provided to the tetraplegic patient or amputee. Given the complexity of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs, and thus the huge state-space they can traverse, it is desirable to minimize the need of the patient to learn associations between events impinging upon the limb and arbitrary sensations. With this in mind, we seek to develop approaches to intuitively convey sensory information that is critical for object manipulation - information about contact location, pressure, and timing - through intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) of primary somatosensory cortex (S1). To this end, we test in psychophysical experiments with monkeys, the sensations evoked by ICMS of S1. Based on these results, we show how to build a biomimetic encoding algorithm for conveying tactile feedback through a cortical interface and show that artificial touch improves the dexterity of brain-controlled bionic hands.

Friday, April 6, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Grant McCallum, PhD
PI: Prof. Durand
Title: "Neural activity within solid breast tumors and the implications on metastasis"

Abstract
Breast cancer is a global problem. Worldwide, breast cancer accounts for nearly a quarter of all cancers in women and it is estimated that 1.7 million women are diagnosed with the disease annually. In the United States, in 2016, 249,260 women and 2,600 men were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and another 61,000 women were diagnosed with in situ breast cancer. The chance of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime has increased from about 1-in-11 in 1975 to 1-in-8 today. An estimated 90% of deaths due to breast cancer are a consequence of metastatic disease, whether the cancer was metastatic at diagnosis or a metastatic recurrence that developed later.

An increasing amount of evidence supports the autonomic nervous system's role in the etiology and evolution of solid tumors, including prostate, pancreas and breast. Solid tumors were once believed to lack innervation. However, recent scientific articles indicate that nerve fibers infiltrate primary tumors through neurogenesis. Increasing nerve densities are associated with more aggressive tumor grades and poor patient survival. Signaling molecules (neurotrophins, neuropeptides, axon guidance molecules and neurotransmitters) traditionally associated with nervous system function have also been implicated in cancer and may play an important role in promoting cancer by mediating the reciprocal cross-talk between nerves and cancer cells, particularly in the context of the tumor microenvironment.

Numerous animal model studies have provided a starting point to understand the autonomic nervous system's influence on breast cancer progression. However, not one of these studies has reported direct recordings and/or quantified the neural activity within the solid breast tumor to ascertain whether these neural fibers are active and if so, what neural signaling patterns are occurring within the solid tumor during its development through metastasis.

Collaborating with Prof. Karathanasis' lab and using their 4T1 (triple-negative) breast cancer mouse model, we have implanted our microwire electrodes into the solid tumor and performed chronic recordings and bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to track the neural activity and tumor growth through metastasis. Preliminary recording, imaging and histology data will be presented along with the ultra, low-noise chronic recording system setup used. We hypothesize that recorded neural activity can be used to predict the occurrence of metastasis in this animal model. Furthermore, encouraging evidence has emerged that it may be possible to differentiate pre-metastatic vs. metastatic conditions based on overall signaling patterns and a subset of the active neural population.

 

Friday, March 29, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Ivana Cuberovic
Advisor: Prof. Dustin Tyler
Title: Cognitive Factors Driving Perception of Sensory Location

Abstract
There are approximately 2 million amputees in the United States. When a person suffers an amputation, they lose both the motor capabilities of the limb and all somatosensory feedback from it. Electrical stimulation is a means of restoring sensation to such persons. Previous work in our lab has demonstrated the ability to evoke focal, intensity-graded sensations of pressure across the surface of the phantom hand.

One of the fundamental dimensions of sensation we aim to accurately reproduce with sensory stimulation is the location of evoked percepts. Tactile stimuli have been shown to improve task performance in both tactile-only and in multi-modal sensory feedback conditions when the feedback is spatially congruent to the task. We hypothesize that the anatomic relationship between peripheral nerve somatotopy and the sensory homunculus in the sensory cortex defines the possible locations of evoked sensation, but that it does not account for changes in tactile location perception under various cognitive conditions, such as those found in haptic illusions.

Here we sought to probe cognitive influences on the perception of electrically-evoked sensory locations within anatomic bounds. First, we quantified the effects of changing limb posture on perceived location. We then investigated the influence of task-performance on perceived location. Finally, we show preliminary data investigating the relative contribution of visual capture to changes in perceived location during task performance. We hypothesize that perceptual processes such as visual capture and expectation influence the precise location of perceived sensation within broad anatomic bounds.

Friday, March 23, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Platon Lukyanenko
Advisor: Prof. Dustin Tyler
Title: A muscle synergy basis for a continuous, proportional, simultaneous prosthetic hand controller allows reduced training time without performance degradation.

Abstract
Of the nearly 100k upper limb amputees in the united states, 20-40%, varying by survey, abandon their prosthetic devices. Recent pushes by groups such as DARPA and the VA have allowed the creation of advanced prosthetic limbs including the Deka and Modular Prosthetic Limb, but not yet the means for their control. Modern experimental prosthetic hand controllers generally interpret user generated EMG to determine a user's intent and then drive a prosthetic hand's motors. Rarely do these controllers allow 'simultaneous' movement of multiple degrees of freedom, variable movement speed of these degrees in a manner 'proportional' to user intent, 'continuous' combinations of movements evoked, and low training times on the user's part. We develop a synergy-based prosthetic controller which provides continuous, proportional, simultaneous hand control using implanted EMG, with the potential for very short training times, and evaluate it using a VR based posture matching task and a novel 'simultaneity' metric. Successful use of the synergy approach serves to enhance its validity as a framework for interpreting neural drives.

Friday, March 16, 2018
NP Seminar

8:30 AM, Wolstein Research Building Room 1413

Title: Interfacing with Autonomic Nerves

Speaker: Dominique Durand, PhD
Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering
Director, Neural Engineering Center
Case Western Reserve University

For more information, contact Cheryl Dudek (216) 231-3257, cdudek@FEScenter.org

Friday, March 9, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Natalie Cole
Title: "Reducing the dimensionality of time-varying hand function with muscle synergies"
Advisor: Prof. Bolu Ajiboye

Abstract
Muscle synergies have been shown to reduce the muscle activation patterns of complicated, multi-dimensional sets of movements and postures to simplified, coordinated muscle recruitment. Regarding hand function specifically, it has been shown that the complexity of hand function is physiologically simplified at the kinematic and muscle activation level as evidenced by correlated and co-varying degrees of freedom. Additionally, muscle synergies extracted from a limited set of hand postures have been successfully used to reconstruct the muscle activation patterns required to reproduce a wide range of new hand postures However, it is unclear whether static synergy modules can be used to reproduce the time-varying muscle activation patterns observed during actual hand movement (i.e. during grasp formation and functional use). This work first examines whether a low-dimensional set of static synergies can be extracted from and recreate muscle activation patterns observed during time-varying (non-isometric) hand function as well as or better than static synergies derived from (isometric) hand postures. The results show that static muscle synergies can be extracted from functional task EMG and the performance for reconstructing muscle activations during functional tasks is comparable whether using static synergies derived from postural tasks or functional tasks.

Friday, March 2, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Breanne Christie
Title: "Evaluating the functional performance and cognitive burden of lower limb sensory neuroprostheses"
Advisors: Drs. Ronald Triolo and Dustin Tyler

Abstract
Somatosensory feedback from the sole of the foot and ankle joint plays an important role in maintaining balance and postural stability. In people with lower limb loss, the feedback from foot-floor contact pressure or ankle position is compromised. Compared to able-bodied individuals, they typically have lower balance confidence, higher fall risk, and asymmetrical weight distribution. In a preliminary study, we successfully restored natural sensation in two unilateral trans-tibial amputees using chronic neural interface technology. We implanted nerve cuff electrodes on the distal sciatic, tibial, and common peroneal nerves in the residual limb. By delivering electrical pulse trains to the nerve, we were able to elicit sensations referred to the missing limb. After finding charge thresholds and mapping percept location to electrodes, we developed an instrumented prosthesis equipped with pressure sensors embedded in shoe insoles. When pressure sensors were activated, appropriate electrical stimulation was delivered to the nerve to evoke sensation in the corresponding locations of the missing limb. We have begun to examine the effects of sensory feedback on gait, static balance, and cognitive burden. During gait experiments, participants walk on a treadmill with embedded force plates. A SMART Balance Master ® with embedded force plates is used to perform two balance tests. In a sensory organization test (SOT), a surface platform sways, visual surroundings sway, and/or subjects close their eyes. During translation tests, the surface platform is unexpectedly translated forward or backward by 6cm. Finally, to assess cognitive burden, a dual-task paradigm combines static standing with spelling 5-letter words backwards. During translation tests and conditions of the SOT missing visual input, preliminary results indicate that one participant adopts a more symmetrical weight distribution when sensory feedback is incorporated. He also has decreased anterior-posterior sway (p<0.05) when visual input is blocked while the platform rotates about the ankle joint. Overall, our findings suggest that restoring sensory feedback to individuals with lower limb loss could potentially minimize overuse of their intact limb and improve postural stability in response to perturbations.

 

Friday, February 23, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Nicholas Couturier
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Low-frequency fiber tract stimulation for seizure suppression in cortical epilepsies

Abstract:
Frontal Lobe Epilepsy (FLE) is the second most common form of focal epileptic disorders. FLE is characterized by highly diverse seizure symptoms often delaying accurate diagnosis. Unlike the more common temporal lobe epilepsy, FLE tends to be more refractory to anti-epileptic drug treatment accounting for up to half of all intractable epilepsies. Furthermore, the success rate of surgical resections for neocortical seizures is only 50-60% compared to 75% for temporal lobectomy. A novel treatment for refractory epilepsy of neocortical origin is investigated based on the success of previous studies in deep brain stimulation for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. We previously reported seizure suppression of 90% in animal models as well as in patients. Seizure suppression is achieved through direct stimulation of the fiber tracts connecting structures in both hemispheres of the brain. We stimulate at low frequencies between 1-30 Hz to elicit a long-lasting hyperpolarization in the post-synaptic neurons. For epileptic foci in the frontal cortex, we stimulate the corpus callosum acutely for 1 hour to suppress seizures both during stimulation as well as after stimulation. Initial experiments demonstrate significant seizure suppression in an acute cortical model of epilepsy. Additional acute experiments, as well as chronic experiments, are being planned to validate the effectiveness of fiber tract stimulation for seizure suppression.

 

Friday, February 16, 2018
NP Seminar

8:30 AM, Wolstein Research Building Room 1413

Speaker: Julius DeWald, PhD
Chair and Professor
Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences
McCormick School of Engineering and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Northwestern University

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Friday, February 2, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Cale Crowder
Advisor: Robert Kirsch, PhD

Title: Applications of deep learning in brain-computer interfaces

Abstract:
Cervical-level spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis from the neck down -- a condition know as tetraplegia. In order to return motor function to study participants with spinal cord injuries, our research group has created an intramuscular functional electrical stimulation (FES) system controlled by an intracortical brain-computer interface (BCI). The FES-BCI system relies on many components including: a module to denoise the BCI signals, a module to extract features from the denoised signals, a decoder to translate extracted features into kinematic commands, and a controller to map kinematic commands to FES patterns. In this presentation, we will propose deep learning as a method to optimize the components of our FES-BCI system. Furthermore, we will suggest that deep learning can be used to elucidate the structure and function of the human motor cortical system.

Friday, January 26, 2018
NEC Seminar

9:00 AM, Nord 400

Speaker: Rajat Shivacharan
Advisor: Prof. Durand

Title: Spontaneous neural activity can propagate non-synaptically

Abstract:
It is well documented that synapses play a significant role in the transmission of information between neurons. However, in the absence of synaptic transmission, neural activity has been observed to continue to propagate. This raises the question as to what is mediating this propagation. Experiments conducted in our lab have shown that propagation of epileptiform behavior in rodent hippocampi propagates at a speed of ~0.1 m/s. This observed propagation can take place in the absence of synaptic transmission and gap junctions and is outside the range of ionic diffusion and axonal conduction. Recent studies suggest ephaptic coupling, or endogenous electric fields, can activate neighboring neurons, thereby generating a self-propagating wave. However, there is no experimental data suggesting ephaptic coupling is sufficient for spontaneous, self-regenerating propagation of neural activity. Recent in vitro and in vivo data from the rodent hippocampus will be presented that shows neural activity can propagate through a physical cut in the tissue, thereby completely eliminating synaptic transmission and other close cell-to-cell communication mechanisms, and showing electric fields alone are sufficient to mediate non-synaptic propagation.

Friday, January 19, 2018
NP Seminar

8:30 AM, Wolstein Research Building Room 1413

Speaker: Aaron Batista, PhD
Associate Professor, Bioengineering
Principal Investigator, Sensory Motor Integration Laboratory and Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

Title: How does the brain change when we learn?

Abstract:
How does the brain change when we learn? Those changes must lead to the emergence of new patterns of activity in the population of neurons that control the newly-learned behavior. By using a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) paradigm, we can observe changes in neural population activity that lead directly to new behavioral capacities. We find that a simple network principle governs whether novel BCI mappings will be learned quickly or more slowly. We can then examine the neural activity patterns that are expressed following learning. We find that different principles of nework reorganization underlie fast and slow BCI learning.