Department of Biomedical Engineering
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March 20, 2015
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, BRB 105
Speaker: Leo Cohen, MD
Chief, Human Cortical Physiology
and Stroke Neurorehabilitation Section
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Title: “Learning, Reward and Brain Stimulation in Neurorehabilitation”

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Exercise and training have long been used to improve motor function after stroke. Better training strategies and therapies based on motor learning principles to enhance the effects of these rehabilitative protocols are currently being developed for poststroke disability. Improvement in our understanding of the neuroplastic processes associated with poststroke motor impairment and understanding of the mechanisms of neuroplasticity is crucial to this effect. Reward has proven an influential factor in neuroplasticity and as a tool to enhance training effects. Pharmacological, biological and electrophysiological interventions that enhance neuroplasticity are explored to further expand the boundaries of poststroke rehabilitation. This presentation aims to provide a focused overview of neuroplasticity associated with motor learning and reward in health and after injury and its interactions. Experimental interventions are being developed to manipulate neuroplasticity to enhance motor rehabilitation in humans. Possible differences in motor skill learning affected after stroke will be discussed.

March 12, 2015
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Brian Murphy, Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: A. Bolu Ajiboye, Ph.D.
Title: "Subsurface Cortical Recordings for Prediction of Hand Grasp Function"

Abstract: Roughly 130,000 people in the US suffer from high level spinal cord injury resulting in loss of hand function. Brain-machine interfaces (BMI) combined with functional electrical stimulation (FES) have the potential to restore movement to paralyzed individuals’ arms and hands. Cortical signals related to grasp have been studied in non-human primates as well as in humans but primarily from surface cortical structures. Imaging studies suggest that some subsurface cortical areas, such as inside of central sulcus and the insular cortex, are also active during hand grasping and force tasks. These regions are hard to record from using traditional invasive BMI technologies such as electrocorticographic grids and microelectrode arrays. Stereoencephalographic (SEEG) depth electrodes could provide a means to record signals from these hard to reach subsurface areas. This project aimed to determine if signals related to hand grasp posture and force could be recorded from these subsurface structures and if they could be used for prediction of grasp posture or force.

This study demonstrated that signals from SEEG electrodes could be used to differentiate between resting and movement or force production periods. It also showed that these signals could be used to classify and decode grasp force level in some participants and could be used to classify between different combinations of grasp postures. In two participants, it was also shown that imagined grasping trials could be discriminated from rest periods but different imagined grasps could not be discriminated. The signals recorded from the motor cortex wall of central sulcus and primary sensory cortex gave the best classification and decoding accuracies. Contacts placed in insular cortex also gave above chance classification of move versus rest for some participants. The results of this study show that signals recorded from subsurface cortical areas (especially the motor bank of central sulcus) using SEEG depth electrodes can be used for prediction of grasp posture and force level and should be considered as implantation sites for further BMI studies.

March 6, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Anneke Frankemolle
Advisor: Dr. McIntyre
Title: “Improving speech quality in Parkinson’s disease patients with deep brain stimulation”

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the subthalamic nucleus is an established therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Although DBS improves the patients’ motor symptoms, it is associated with adverse effects. One of the most disabling adverse effects, from a patient’s perspective, is dysarthria: a motor speech disorder that leads to loss in communication and social isolation.

Activation of specific pathways is suspected to be responsible for stimulation induced adverse effects. We propose to systematically couple clinical speech outcomes with patient-specific neurostimulation models to identify the pathways that are involved with dysarthria. Such coupling would assist in adjusting the stimulation parameters to avoid dysarthria and consequently improve the patient’s quality of life.

February 24, 2015
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

1:00pm, Wickenden Building, Room 307
Speaker: Mingming Zhang, PhD Candidate
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: "Septo-temporal Patterns and Mechanisms of Neural Propagation"

Understanding how neural signal conduction is important for learning normal brain functions and delivering neuromodulation therapy. However, it is not clear how in many cases neural activity propagates in the brain. To study neural propagation, we adopted the unfolded hippocampus in-vitro preparation from rodent animals. The combination of the unfolded hippocampus with penetrating microelectrode array (PMEA) is a powerful tool to monitor neural signal propagation in a large area of the hippocampal network.

Previous studies in the unfolded hippocampus using PMEA show that 4-AP-induced spontaneous activity could propagate in a diagonal wave front across the entire hippocampus. Further experiments showed that propagation is independent of either synaptic transmission or gap junction conductions, but is consistent with an electrical field effect. In addition, in a train of activity with various firing spikes. This could be interpreted by a change in the propagating direction. However, it was determined that the source of the spikes moved within the hippocampus. This particular pattern is consistent over a large number of experiments in different hippocampal preparation from both sides of the brain hemisphere.
Overall, this study shows spiking activity in the hippocampus can take place at a speed of about 0.12 m/s. The prevalence of non-synaptic propagation across several experimental approaches suggests that there exists a common mechanism mediating the neural signal travelling in the brain associated with the change of extracellular electrical field. Moreover, further analysis shows that source of these spikes is itself moving by a slower speed of about 0.01 m/s. Therefore, these results indicate a novel type of neural activity propagation mechanisms in the hippocampus. This could be important to explain how neural activity can be synchronized across neural tissue.

February 6, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Yazan Dweiri
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: “Selective recording of physiological activity within peripheral nerves: Chronic study in Canine”

There is a growing interest in the field of peripheral nerve interface as an approach to revolutionize prosthetics. The neural activity controlling the action of skeletal muscles are accessible directly from the PNS and can be utilized to provide command signals for an intuitive control of advanced robotic arms with high degrees-of-freedom. The aim of the presented study is to reliably record the activity of individual sources (fascicle or synergistic fascicles) within an intact nerve using the flat interface nerve electrode (FINE). We chronically recorded the physiological activity within the sciatic nerve of dogs during normal gate, then independently recover the activity of the two main sources within the nerve at the FINE implant site, and then compared it with the two muscles outcomes controlled by these sources (Ankle joint movement). The presentation will include an overview on the FINE recording setup and the source localization algorithm, the chronological progression of FINE stability, recording quality and source recovery over 6 month period (two dogs), and demonstration of the accuracy of source recovery as a binary classifier of fascicular activity using ROC analysis.

January 23, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Jingle Jiang
Advisor: Dr. Dawn Taylor
Title: Validation of a new noise reduction algorithm for multichannel neural recordings

Accurately determining when an action potential or 'spike' occurs (detection) and then accurately attributing each spike waveform to its appropriate neuron (sorting) is essential for all neuroscience research that relies on extracellular neural recordings. However, the existence of both biological and non-biological noise makes accurate spike detection and sorting a challenge. In this talk, I will present an assessment of our new algorithm for reducing background noise in
multichannel neural recordings. The new method can be used for both online and offline spike sorting. We will provide evidence that our new noise reduction algorithm results in higher signal-to-noise ratios which lead to more spikes detected and more accurate sorting than traditional methods. Results from both simulation and real data will be presented.

January 16, 2015
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:00am, Kulas Auditorium
Speaker: Philip N. Sabes, PhD
UCSF Department of Physiology
UC Berkeley/UCSF Center for Neural Engineering and Prosthetics
Title: “A Learning-Based Approach to Artificial Proprioception”

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Proprioception—the sense of the body's position in space—is important to natural movement planning and execution and will likewise be necessary for successful motor prostheses and brain–machine interfaces (BMIs). I will present our recent work on the development of a learning-based approach to delivering artificial proprioceptive feedback. This work is motivated by the theoretical observation that movement planning and control rely on information from multiple sensory modalities, and that these signals are combined in a statistically optimal and highly adaptive manner. We have shown how a simple network model can learn to perform such multisensory processing, driven only by the common statistics of its inputs, e.g., by spatiotemporal correlations between sensory modalities. When then demonstrated that the same principle can be used to train animals to use an artificial sensory signal. In particular, we paired known visual feedback with an initially unfamiliar (and non-biomimetic) multichannel intracortical microstimulation signal that provided continuous information about hand position relative to an unseen target. After learning, the animals were able to use this signal to guide naturalistic movements. Furthermore, they combined the artificial signal with vision to form an optimal estimate of hand position. These results demonstrate that a learning-based approach can be used to provide a rich artificial sensory feedback signal, suggesting a new strategy for restoring proprioception to patients using BMIs, as well as a powerful new tool for studying the adaptive mechanisms of sensory integration.

January 9,2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, Wickenden 322
Speaker: Kabilar Gunalan
Title: Developing Tools for the Theoretical Characterization of Pathway Activation during Subthalamic Deep Brain Stimulation
Advisor: Cameron McIntyre

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established therapy for movement disorders; however, the mechanisms of action are not well understood. Computational modeling can be used to understand the quantitative effects of stimulation on the surrounding neural tissue. We explore the steps taken to develop accurate anatomical reconstructions of known fiber tracts that are potentially modulated during therapeutic subthalamic DBS.

December 19, 2014 CANCELED
NEC Seminar

9:00am, Wickenden 322
Speaker: Jingle Jiang
Advisor: Dawn Taylor

Accurately determining when an action potential or 'spike' occurs (detection) and then accurately attributing each spike waveform to its appropriate neuron (sorting) is essential for all neuroscience research that relies on extracellular neural recordings. However, the existence of both biological and non-biological noise makes accurate spike detection and sorting a challenge. In this talk, I will present an assessment of our new algorithm for reducing background noise in multichannel neural recordings. The new method can be used for both online and offline spike sorting. We will provide evidence that our new noise reduction algorithm results in higher signal-to-noise ratios which lead to more spikes detected and more accurate sorting than traditional methods. Results from both simulation and real data will be presented.

December 12, 2014
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, Biometrics Research Building 105
Speaker: Mario Romero-Ortega, PhD

December 12, 2014
Neurology Grand Rounds

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM, Kulas Auditorium
“Deep Brain Stimulation”
Jens Volkmann, MD, PhD
Chairman, Department of Neurology
Julius-Maximilians-University, Würzburg, Germany

December 5, 2014: NEC seminar
9:00am, Nord 400
Speaker: Julie Murphy
Title: Selective Nerve Stimulation to Delay the Onset of Muscle Fatigue
Advisors: Dr. Ron Triolo and Dr. Dustin Tyler

Abstract: Individuals with a lower cervical or thoracic level spinal cord injury can stand using functional neuromuscular stimulation. While many individuals have been able to stand long enough to perform important activities of daily living such as getting dressed or transferring from bed to a wheelchair, there is a lot of variation in the onset of muscle fatigue, which consequently affects the length of time each individual is able to stand. By selectively stimulating fascicles within a nerve, the activation of synergistic muscles can be rotated to allow muscles to rest and recover while maintaining a constant joint moment. While initial results in human participants looks promising, tuning of these advanced stimulation paradigms needs to be automated and optimized to find the stimulation parameters that will best delay the onset of muscle fatigue.

November 21, 2014
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, Biometrics Research Building 105
Speaker: Lonnie D. Shea, PhD
Title: "Biomaterial Bridges and Delivery Systems in CNS Repair"

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Abstract: Systems and strategies for promoting tissue growth provide enabling technologies for either enhancing regeneration for diseased or injured tissues, or to investigate abnormal tissue formation such as cancer. Given the complexity inherent in tissues, my laboratory is working towards the concept of "Systems Tissue Engineering", which indicates the dual need i) to develop systems capable of presenting combinations of factors that drive tissue growth, as well as ii) to incorporate systems biology approaches that can identify the appropriate combination of factors. Biomaterial scaffolds represent a central component of many approaches and provide the enabling tools for creating an environment and/or deliver factors that can direct cellular processes toward tissue formation. We have developed scaffolds with the objective of providing factors to stimulate growth and also blocking factors that inhibit regeneration, and will illustrate this approach through our work in the area of spinal cord injury, as well as the development of nanoparticles for modulating the immune response in a model of multiple sclerosis.

October 31, 2014: NEC seminar
9:00am, Nord 400

Speaker: Jessica Nguyen
Title: A Materials Approach to Reduce Inflammation at the Neural Interface
Advisor: Dr. Capadona

Abstract: Single unit neural recordings from intracortical microelectrodes can be used to control external devices and restore volitional control for patients with motor disabilities. Unfortunately, clinical use is limited due to inconsistency in recording quality and device lifetime . Our lab focuses on modulating the characteristics of the surrounding tissue and improving the proximity of neuronal cell bodies to improve microelectrode function. Here, I will present on the effects of material compliance coupled with antioxidant delivery to reduce neuroinflammation and potentially improve microelectrode recording.

Neural Prosthesis Seminar Series 2014-2015 brochure here.

10-17-2014: NP Seminar 8:00 a.m.
Speaker: Dr. Nader Pouratian
Assistant Professor, UCLA Dept. of Neurosurgery
Location: Kulas Auditorium University Hospitals

9-19-2014: Neural Prothesis Seminar
8:30 a.m., BRB 105

Dr. Jeffrey Capadona
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University
Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Neurology, and Neurosurgery
"Biologically 'Inspired' Approaches to Enable Next-Generation Intracortical Microelectrodes"

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Abstract: To ensure long-term consistent neural recordings, next-generation intracortical microelectrodes are being developed with an increased emphasis on reducing the neuro-inflammatory response. The increased emphasis stems from the improved understanding of the multifaceted role that inflammation may play in disrupting both biologic and abiologic components of the overall neural interface circuit. To combat neuro-inflammation and improve recording quality, the field is actively progressing from traditional inorganic materials towards approaches that either minimizes the microelectrode footprint or that incorporate compliant materials, bioactive molecules, conducting polymers or nanomaterials. However, the immune-privileged cortical tissue introduces an added complexity compared to other biomedical applications that remains to be fully understood. The Capadona Lab utilizes basic science techniques to provide a more complete mechanistic understanding of the molecular and biological-mediated failure modes for intracortical microelectrodes. Their increased understanding provides the framework for the development of targeted materials-based and therapeutic attempts to impact intracortical microelectrode performance. This seminar will provide an overview of the recent highlights and promising strategies to enable long-term clinical successes of intracortical microelectrodes.

9-11-2014: Neurosciences Seminar
12:10 p.m., BRB 105

Dr. Cameron McIntyre
Case Western Reserve University
Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Neurology, and Neurosurgery
"From Biophysics to Clinical Practice: Scientific Development of DBS Technology"
Host: Dr. Richard Zigmond

8-22-2014: NEC Friday Seminar Series 9:00am
Nord 400. The following presentations:

Speaker: Kelsey Aamoth
Title: Portable Stimulation System with Enhanced Memory to Record Continuous Data
Advisor: Dr. Ken Gustafson

Speaker: Santiago Guerra Nieto
Title: Interfacing FES bike for patients with implanted stimulation systems
Advisor: Dr. Ronald Triolo

Speaker: Maria Lesieutre
Title: A Hybrid Neuromechanical Ambulatory Assist System
Adviser: Dr. Ronald Triolo

Speaker: Nicholas Schindler
Title: Synthesizing PLA-PEG Nanoparticles with a Fluidic Nanoprecipitation System for Industrial Scale Up
Advisor: Dr. Erin Lavik

Speaker: Remy Niman
Title: Designing an Ankle Moment Transducer for Intraoperative Testing.
Adviser: Dr. Ronald Triolo

Speaker: Benjamin Nudelman
Title: Development of Trunk and Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Models
Advisor: Dr. Musa Audu

Speaker: Nishant Uppal
Title: Evaluating the viability and efficacy of hemostatic nanoparticles in porcine liver injury models: interpreting and analyzing surgical data
Bench Mentor: DaShawn Hickman
PI: Dr. Erin Lavik

8-15-2014: NEC Friday Seminar 9:00am
Speaker: Emily Graczyk
Title: "Sense of proprioception resulting from peripheral nerve stimulation in limb loss subjects"
Advisor: Dustin Tyler
Location: Nord 400

Abstract: Individuals who have lost a limb can regain some motor function with the use of myoelectric prostheses. However, these prostheses cannot provide natural somatosensory feedback, and users must rely on visual and auditory cues to complete tasks. We have previously shown that stimulation through extraneural peripheral nerve cuff electrodes implanted in the upper limb can provide a sense of touch or pressure on the missing hand. I will present preliminary evidence that peripheral nerve stimulation can also elicit proprioception, or the sense of limb positioning and movement, in the missing hand of upper limb amputees. The goals of the project are to characterize the proprioceptive sensations resulting from stimulation of the median, ulnar, and radial nerves and to determine the relationship between proprioception and muscle activity. We hypothesize that the perceived joint in motion depends on the stimulation channel and that the specific movement perceived depends on the stimulation pattern and parameters. Restored proprioception, along with restored touch, may improve an amputee’s functional performance with a myoelectric prosthesis.

8-8-2014: NEC Friday Seminar 9:00am
Speaker: Chen Qiu
Title: "Propagation of Neural Activity by Endogenous Electrical Field"
Advisor: Dominique Durand
Location: Nord 400

Abstract: Recent experiments have shown that certain neural activity travels at a speed of 0.1m/s without synaptic transmission or gap junctions, and this speed is too high for ionic diffusion, suggesting that there exists another underlying governing mechanism. Field effect is known to modulate spiking patterns and firing timing, and here we tested the hypothesis that endogenous field generated by neural firing can be sufficient to induce activity propagations with computer simulations and experiment in-vitro. Simulation results showed that field effects alone could indeed mediate transverse propagation across three layers of neurons in both pathological and physiological conditions with a speed of 0.12 ~ 0.097 m/s and 0.11~ 0.035m/s, respectively, upon spiking initiation of the first layer, resulting endogenous field amplitudes of ~3-~6mV/mm. Further, the model predicted that smaller extracellular space generates higher propagation speeds, while other parameters that do not affect field amplitude have no significant influence on speed. In-vitro experiments in hippocampus (unfolded or longitudinal slice) recorded the same speed and field amplitude during events, and confirmed that changes in osmolarity (extracellular space volume) inversely influences propagation speed. Taken together, these results showed that despite its weak amplitude, the electric field effect can be solely responsible for neural activity propagation with a speed of 0.1m/s. This phenomenon could be important to explain the slow propagation of epileptic activity in the brain and is consistent with the propagation of theta waves in the cortex.

8-1-2014: NEC Friday Seminar 9:00am
Speaker: Brian Murphy
Title: "Can stereotactic depth electrodes be used to classify grasp posture and force commands for a hand neuroprosthesis?"
Advisor: Dr. Bolu Ajiboye
Location: Nord 400

Abstract: Functional electrical stimulation (FES) systems have allowed the restoration of functional grasp to paralyzed persons by utilizing residual movement as command sources. By using signals taken directly from the brain, it may be possible to control a wider range of grasps and grasp forces than these current signals allow. Much of the cortical tissue in the brain is tucked away inside of folds (sulci) and difficult to record from directly by electrodes traditionally used for brain computer interface work. Our study focuses on field potential signals recorded from stereotactic depth electrodes placed through these folds and how well they can be used to classify grasp posture and grasp force.

7-25-2014: NEC Friday Seminar 9:00am
Speaker: Frank Willett
Title: "The Cortex as an Adaptive Controller and its implications for Brain-Machine Interfaces."
Advisors: Dr. Taylor and Dr. Ajiboye
Location: Nord 400

Abstract: A brain-machine interface can restore movement to people with paralysis by artificially reconnecting cortical neurons to a computer cursor, robotic arm, or even an implanted functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. In one popular view, neurons in the motor cortex express (or "encode") a set of movement parameters (hand velocity, goal position, joint torque, etc.) by varying their firing rate as a fixed function of the movement parameters. It is then the job of the brain-machine interface to "decode" these movement parameters from the neural activity and feed them to an external device. In this talk, I take the opposing view that the motor cortical network is an adaptive controller that learns to express a control signal suited to whatever brain-machine interface is presented to it. I will discuss two pieces of work motivated by this viewpoint. In my research with Dr. Taylor, we designed a brain-machine interface to connect cortical neurons directly to muscle stimulators implanted in a paralyzed arm. This system requires the user’s brain to adapt to a novel, biomechanically complex system. In my research with Dr. Ajiboye, I developed a subject-specific model of closed-loop brain control that takes into account visual feedback delay, neural noise properties, and the user's control strategy. This model views the cortex as a controller and can be used to optimize parameters in a brain-machine interface.

7-18-2014: NEC Friday Seminar 9:00am
Speaker: Kyle Tepe
Title: "Using EMG to Modulate Trunk Stimulation during Manual Wheelchair Propulsion following Spinal Cord Injury."
Advisor: Dr. Ron Triolo
Location: Nord 400

Abstract: Paralysis of the trunk and hip musculature in persons with spinal cord injury can lead to postural instability while propelling a manual wheelchair. Manual wheelchair propulsion is known to be mechanically inefficient, and a high prevalence of shoulder pain has been reported by users. It has been shown that constant, low-level stimulation of the hip and trunk extensors can improve the mechanics of wheelchair propulsion during comfortable speed propulsion. This study seeks to examine benefits of EMG-controlled trunk stimulation modulated over the propulsion cycle to further improve propulsion technique at comfortable speeds and to expand these benefits to strenuous wheelchair tasks.

7-11-2014: There will be no NEC Friday Seminar.

Speakers for the summer will be:
07-18: Kyle Tepe
07-25: Frank Willit
08-01: Chen Qui
08-08: Brian Murphy

July 1, 2014:

Prof Erin Lavik of the Neural Engineering Center at Case Western Reserve University and her colleagues have developed super-clotting balls that can stop bleeding at many sites and improve survival. The super-clotting balls can last up to two weeks as a dry powder and can be made into a solution rapidly by just adding a salt or sugar water mixture. The research has been featured on the BBC, foxnews and Popular Mechanics.

Also see CWRU artificial platelet therapy for blast and trauma victims one step closer to human trials.

6-20-2014: NEC Friday Seminar 9:00am
Speaker: Meg Lashof-Sullivan
Title: "Hemostatic Nanoparticles for Treatment of Blast Trauma."
Advisor: Erin Lavik
Location: Nord 400

Abstract: Blast trauma accounts for 79% of combat related injuries and results in multi-organ hemorrhaging. Early treatment of bleeding is key to improving the odds of survival. Hemostatic nanoparticles administered intravenously in a mouse blast trauma model increase survival in the short term, and do not have any complications out to three weeks. Additionally, such particles can be loaded with drugs to provide treatment directly at the injury site. Treatment with hemostatic nanoparticles loaded with the steroid dexamethasone improves physiological recovery and reduces anxiety-related behavior in preliminary testing in a rat blast trauma model. These particles have the potential to enhance recovery from traumatic injuries.

6-13-2014: NEC Seminar 9:00 am
Speaker: Nicholas Couturier
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Title: Sensorty Stimulation for the Suppression of Seizures

Abstract: Low Frequency Electrical Stimulation (LFES) has proven to be effective as an alternative treatment for refractory epilepsy. However, LFES requires brain surgery and deep implantation of electrodes in the brain. We investigated whether a non-invasive implementation of this method using low frequency sensory stimulation (LFSS) could provide an effective alternative to surgical resection or electrical stimulation for temporal lobe epilepsy.

6-6-2014: NEC Seminar 9:00 am
Speaker: Natalie Cole
Advisor: Prof. Ajiboye
Title: Extracting underlying muscle coordination patterns of hand function.

Abstract: Functional Electrical Stimulation has been used to restore hand function to individuals with spinal cord injury at the C5 and C6 levels. The goal of our work is to develop a generalizable and systematic method for creating muscle coordination patterns for producing a wide variety of hand patterns. Current literature has suggested that the neuromotor system coordinates complex movements through a hierarchical system known as muscle synergies, where groups of muscles, rather than individual muscles, are controlled. Our work aims to quantify the underlying synergy patterns of muscle activation during hand manipulation tasks during activities of daily living, specifically teasing out their spatial and temporal correlations. These extracted patterns can then be used to develop improved FES hand systems.

5-30-2014: NP Seminar 9:00 am
Speaker: Evon Ereifej
Title: Improving the Neural Electrode Interface by Surface Topography Modifications
Location: Nord Hall, Room 400

Abstract: Neural electrode devices hold great promise to help people with the restoration of lost functions, however, research is lacking in the biomaterial design of a stable, long-term device. Current devices lack long term functionality, most have been found unable to record neural activity within weeks after implantation due to the development of glial scar tissue. Surface topography modifications can alter cell alignment, adhesion, proliferation, migration, and gene expression. Results presented here show alterations of the surface topography reduce the inflammatory response. Mimicking the surface topography of the native brain environment shows great promise to reduce the inflammatory response to neural electrodes, which may potentially improve signal strength and device longevity.

5-23-2014: NP Seminar 9:00 am
Speaker: Mingming Zhang
Title: The Mechanism of Neural Propagation
Location: Nord Hall, Room 400
Advisor: Prof. Durand
Abstract: With a custom-made micro-electrode array, it is feasible to investigate the neural propagation in a 2-D hippocampal tissue preparation. Previous studies in the laboratory reveal that the spontaneous neural propagation moves at a speed of about 0.1 m/s, diagonally across the entire tissue preparation. Electrical field effects could most likely explain why the neural activity propagates at such a speed. Recent analysis shows that the focus of each propagating event varies from different individual neural spiking events, but with a repeatable pattern. With Doppler Effect, we confirm that there is a moving focus in this neural propagation.

5-19-2014: Epilespy Grand Rounds 8:00 am
Speaker: Brian Litt, MD, Professor of Neurology and Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Title: Engineering Technology to Treat Epilepsy
Location: BRB 105

5-16-2014: NP Seminar 8:00 am
Speaker: Mark Tuszynski, UCSD, Professor of Neurosciences, Director of the Center for Neural Repair
Location: Kulas Auditorium, UH

This laboratory studies anatomical, electrophysiological and functional plasticity in the intact and injured adult central nervous system. We focus in particular on the functional role of growth factors in modulating plasticity. Models studied in the lab include: 1) mechanisms of learning and memory in the intact adult brain, 2) plasticity and cell degeneration in models of aging and Alzheimer's disease, and 3) axonal plasticity and regeneration after spinal cord injury. In rodent and primate models of spinal cord injury, we examine the influences of growth factors and extracellular matrix molecules in modulating axonal responses to injury and the ability of these substances to promote axonal regeneration. In models of basal forebrain and cortical degeneration in rodents and primates, the ability of neurotrophic factors delivered by gene therapy to modulate cellular plasticity and survival. These studies are relevant to the understanding of aging and neuronal loss in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's Disease. In the intact brain, we examine changes in neuronal structure and function that occur during normal learning, and the role of neurotrophic factors in modulating these changes.

1-17-2014: NP Seminar 8:30 am
Speaker: Michael Moffit, PhD
Title: Introduction to Boston Scientific SCS and DBS Systems: Technical Capabilities of the Systems, and What it Takes to go From Concept to Product
Location: Biomedical Research Building 105

Boston Scientific develops and sells spinal cord stimulation systems for pain management and deep brain stimulation systems for Parkinson’s disease and dystonia. A feature of these systems that will be described is the use of independent current sources for each supported contact, and this capability enhances the opportunity to control the electric field, which may be important for fine tuning in a region of interest and for stability of the stimulation. The independent current sources enable advanced programming algorithms that will be described. Also, the process of going from concept to product is a substantial endeavor, with team members contributing in many roles, and these roles will be described.