Department of Biomedical Engineering
Current   |   Events   |   Archive



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.