Department of Biomedical Engineering
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May 20, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, NORD 400
Speaker: Swarna Solanki
Advisor: Prof. Kirsch
Title: Continuous estimation of needed upper extremity force assistance in cervical spinal cord injury

Abstract: A high cervical (C1-C4) spinal cord injury results in extensive paralysis of the upper extremity. Generally, these individuals cannot elevate their arms to accomplish activities of daily living and require assistance from care-givers or rehabilitative devices. We have found that devices designed to reanimate the paralyzed limb can enhance the action of muscles remaining under voluntary control. This study aims to evaluate the ability of individuals in this population to volitionally generate and control forces at their hand and continuously predict the force assistance required during a task.

May 13, 2016
FES Center NP Seminar

8:30 am, BRB 105
Speaker: Edward F. Chang, MD
Associate Professor in Residence of Neurological Surgery and Physiology
University of California, San Francisco
Co-Director, Center for Neural Engineering at UC Berkeley and San Francisco

Live stream video link at

April 22, 2016
FES Center NP Distinguished Seminar

8:30 am, Wolstein Auditorium
Speaker: Geoffrey Ling, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurosciences Critical Care
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Title: Innovating for Medicine using a DARPA approach

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April 15, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, NORD 400
Speaker: Emily Graczyk
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: The neural basis of perceived intensity in natural and artificial touch

Abstract: Electrical stimulation of sensory nerves is a powerful tool for studying neural coding, because it can activate neural populations in ways natural stimulation cannot. Chronic electrical interfaces with the nerve can also be used to restore sensation to patients who have lost it. In the present study, we sought to elucidate the neural basis of perceived intensity in the sense of touch by assessing the sensory correlates of varying two parameters of nerve stimulation, pulse frequency and pulse width, that each has a distinct effect on the evoked neural activity. Specifically, two amputees, chronically implanted with peripheral nerve electrodes, performed each of three psychophysical tasks - intensity discrimination, magnitude scaling, and intensity matching - based on electrical stimulation. We found that stimulation pulse width and pulse frequency have systematic, cooperative effects on perceived tactile intensity and that the artificial tactile sensations can be reliably matched to skin indentations on the intact limb. We then identified a single quantity, derived from the stimulation parameters, that predicts the magnitude of artificial tactile percepts across all testing conditions. Based on principles of fiber recruitment, we deduced that this quantity determines the population spike count in the activated neural population. We conclude that population spike count drives the magnitude of tactile percepts and that sensory magnitude can be manipulated systematically by varying a single stimulation quantity.

April 8, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00 am, NORD 400
Speaker: Max Freeberg
Advisor: Prof. Ron Triolo
Title: Tracking the Safety and Stability of Compliant, Composite, Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (C-FINE)

Abstract: Functional neuromuscular stimulation can restore function to individuals with upper motor neuron injuries, such as spinal cord injury or stroke. Nerve cuff electrodes offer a potentially stable and selective method of activating peripheral nerves. The safety and stability of these interfaces is of paramount importance in creating a chronically functional interface. Here we report the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative testing to track the safety and stability of the first-in-man implant of two 8-contact Compliant, Composite, Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (C-FINE) on the femoral nerves of a man with a cervical level spinal cord injury. The electrodes have thus far had minimal impact on safety measures, including nerve conduction velocity, compound muscle action potential amplitude, and appearance of fibrillations. Recorded EMG and moment responses to electrode stimulation have remained stable while thresholds have risen as expected compared to implant.

April 7, 2016
FES Seminar

8:30 am, BRB 105
Speaker: Stephen J. Lewis, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology
School of MedicineCase Western Reserve University
Title: Autonomic Nerves Regulate Nociceptive Processing

Abstract: Modulation of autonomic nerve activity affords opportunities to affect peripheral end-organ function by changing the firing rate of efferent (direct modulation) and/or sensory (direct and reflex modulation) fibers. Modulation of autonomic sensory nerve input to the brain also affects most neural circuits controlling basic physiological functions such as blood pressure, body temperature and breathing. It is also clear that sensory input from autonomic nerves that are not seen as traditional nociceptive processors influence nociceptive status. This presentation focuses on (1) the changes in nociceptive status in lightly-anesthetized adult male Sprague-Dawley rats resulting from activation or transection of peripheral autonomic and sensory nerves including, A. Vagal and hypoglossal structures (e.g., nodose ganglia, cervical vagus, sub-diaphragmatic vagus, aortic depressor nerve, superior laryngeal nerve, recurrent laryngeal nerve, inferior pharyngeal nerve, hypoglossal nerve, extra-carotid sinus nerve), B. Glossopharyngeal structures (e.g., petrosal ganglion, glossopharyngeal nerve, carotid sinus nerve), and C. Sympathetic structures (e.g., stellate ganglion, superior cervical ganglion, cervical sympathetic chain, and (2) the ability of the above manipulations to modify cardiopulmonary nociceptive input as elicited by systemic injections of 5-hydroxytrytamine. The results clearly implicate many of these peripheral structures in the tonic processing of nociceptive input independently of their traditional roles in regulation of cardiorespiratory function.

April 1, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Frank Willett
Advisor: Professor Bolu Ajiboye
Title: Doubling brain-computer interface performance by using movement scale information from the motor cortex

Abstract: Intracortical brain-computer interfaces can restore movement to people with severe paralysis by recording movement signals from the brain and translating them into motion of an external effector (such as a robotic arm or computer cursor). In the first part of the talk, I will present evidence of novel "movement scale" information present in the neural activity of the primary motor cortex. Using only a linear transformation, it is possible to extract a one-dimensional signal from the neural activity that is small when the user wants to stop or make precise movements and is large when the user wants to make big movements (regardless of the movement direction). This signal is completely separate from typically-used aspects of the neural activity and is thus ignored by standard algorithms. In the second part of the talk, I will present a new decoding algorithm that incorporates the movement scale information. Using the new algorithm, our study participant can make computer cursor movements with a speed-to-precision ratio double that of currently used algorithms.

March 25, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Cale Crowder
Advisor: Dr. Robert Kirsch
Title: Goal decoding from the human primary motor cortex for restoration of movement following spinal cord injury

Abstract: Cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) can result in paralysis of all four limbs — a condition known as tetraplegia. Recently, our research group has combined brain computer interfaces with percutaneous functional electrical stimulation (BCI-FES) to allow a tetraplegic study participant with a C4-level SCI to move his paralyzed arm with multiple degrees of freedom. Using this system, the participant was able to successfully drink coffee from a mug. In this seminar, we will discuss some of the known limitations of our system, and we will suggest methods for optimizing BCI-FES system performance. In particular, we will propose to couple an optimized system controller with a theoretical motor cortical goal-decoder. We hypothesize that this goal decoder will provide information regarding the endpoint of intended movements.

February 26, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Dan Young
Advisor: Dr. Ajiboye
Title: Comparison of coordinate frames for cortical control of virtual and FES reach and grasp

Abstract: Human reaching movements can be described in an intrinsic, body-centered, joint based coordinate frame, or in an extrinsic global coordinate frame. Numerous studies show that both coordinate frames may be encoded by separate populations of neurons, but the optimal coordinate frame for implementing closed loop brain control of an arm neuroprosthesis is currently unknown. Using virtual reality, we studied one BrainGate2 clinical trial participant’s ability to control arm movements using both coordinate frames. This work helped inform our implementation of BCI control of a percutaneous FES system. In this talk, I present results from our virtual reality studies as well as demonstrations of the first cortically controlled FES system to restore reach and grasp to a person with chronic tetraplegia.

February 19, 2016
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, BRB 105
Speaker: Elias Veizi MD, PhD
Title: Challenges in the Development of Novel Treatment Strategies for Neuropathic Pain: Clinical Applications of Neurostimulation

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Neuropathic pain is a challenging condition to treat. It might best be considered as a collection of various pain states with a common feature being symptoms suggestive of dysfunction of peripheral nerves. Significant progress has been made in understanding of neurophysiologic changes that accompany peripheral nerve dysfunction. The development of therapeutic options for the treatment of neuropathic pain is complicated. Advances in technology along with emergence of new indications have expanded the clinical applications of electrical neuromodulation for treatment of neuropathic pain.

February 12, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Kabilar Gunalan
Advisor: Prof. McIntyre
Title: Axon pathways activated during therapeutic deep brain stimulation

Abstract: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic region is an established clinical therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. A fundamental biophysical effect of DBS is the generation of action potentials in axons surrounding the stimulating electrode. The subthalamic region is made up of multiple axonal pathways, and it is unclear which of these pathways are directly responsible for the therapeutic benefit (or side effects) generated by DBS. The goal of this work is to quantify the specific pathways directly activated by clinical DBS settings using patient-specific computational models of DBS. We have found that clinically effective stimulation most likely activates the subthalamopallidal, hyperdirect, and cerebellothalamic pathways. Further, preferential stimulation of different pathways is possible but is dependent upon the patient-specific anatomy, electrode position, and stimulation parameter settings.

February 5, 2016
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Anneke Frankemolle
Advisor: Prof. McIntyre
Title: Stimulation induced dysarthria

Abstract: 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 side effects. One of the most disabling side 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 side effects. This project will systematically couple clinical speech outcomes with patient-specific computational 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.

January 22, 2016
NEC Seminar
9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Dr. Colin Drummond
Title: I am a researcher, why is medical billing relevant to me?

Abstract: Gone are the days when the practical application of scientific discoveries had self-evident value in the marketplace. Although researchers and designers have always considered “cost” as a parameter of interest, “reimbursement” looms much larger now in an era of accountable care and razor-thin hospital profit margins. This presentation provides an overview of the basics of medical coding, device coding and reimbursement today, as well as offering perspectives on the relevance this has on everyone connected to medical device and system development. Some of the dynamics that impact investability in new products are discussed, wherein “value” to various stakeholders often transcends cost and performance.

Dr. Drummond: In January 2015, Dr. Drummond re-joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering as Professor and Assistant Chair with a specific focus on expanding experiential design courses and professional practice preparation; he is also the Faculty Director for the Masters of Engineering and Management Program. Colin’s research on healthcare IT, informatics, entrepreneurship and innovation is balanced by translational research in biosensors and informatics, resulting in collaboration and secondary appointments in the School of Medicine and the University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Most recently, Colin was with the School of Nursing. From 2008-2013, Colin was the Director of the Coulter-Case Translational Research Partnership (CCTRP) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He received his doctorate degree from Syracuse University in 1985 and an MBA in 1997. Professor Drummond spent 20 years in industry before joining CWRU in 2008.

January 15, 2016
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, BRB 105
Speaker: Jerry Silver, PhD
Title: Functional Regeneration Beyond the Glial Scar. Flyer
This seminar will be webstreamed; please view the live webstream at

December 18, 2015
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, BRB 105
Speaker: Lena Ting, PhD
Title: Neuromechanical Principles Underlying Sensorimotor Modularity: Implications for Rehabilitation

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solutions for movement. Although the theoretical and experimental evidence is debated, I will present arguments for consistent structures in motor patterns, i.e., motor modules, that are neuromechanical solutions for movement that are particular to an individual and shaped by evolutionary, developmental, and learning processes. In particular, I will demonstrate how computational analysis of muscle activity in gait and balance reveal consistent structure in muscle coordination that coordinate muscles to achieve motor goals requiring multi-joint movement. Moreover, both individual differences and trial by trial adaptation of these structures reflect higher, task-level modulation of motor goals. As such, different aspects of the modular structure of neuromotor output may be attributable to neural computations at different levels of the nervous system. Therefore, examining how such modular organization is disrupted in and improved through rehabilitation in spinal cord injury, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease may lead to a better understanding of the causal nature of modularity and its underlying neural substrates.

November 20, 2015
NEC Seminar
9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: John Herman
Title: Innate Immune Inhibition to Enhance Intracortical Microelectrode Performance
Advisor: Prof. Capadona

Abstract: Intracortical microelectrodes have enormous potential in both basic research and rehabilitation applications. Unfortunately, widespread implementation of intracortical microelectrodes is limited due to inconsistent recording quality over time. Neuroinflammatory mechanisms are hypothesized to contribute to loss of recording quality. Innate immune pathways promote inflammation in response to molecular patterns associated with tissue damage. Thus, we hypothesize that inhibition of innate immune pathways will improve the quality and stability of intracortical microelectrode recordings over time. In this study we examine the role of innate immune receptors in the neuroinflammatory response to implanted intracortical microelectrodes using knockout mice as well as systemically administered small molecule inhibitors. Further, we examine the effect of innate immune inhibition on intracortical microelectrode recording quality over time.

November 13, 2015
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, Biomedical Research Building, Room 105
Speaker: Polina Anikeeva, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: Interrogating Neural Circuits with Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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The mammalian nervous system is often compared to an electrical circuit, and its dynamics and function are governed by ionic currents across the membranes of neurons. Many neurological disorders are characterized by inhibited/amplified neural activity in a particular region or lack of communication between the two regions of the nervous system. Current approaches to treatment of these disorders have limited effectiveness, and often rely on mechanically invasive and bulky devices. There is a pressing need for biocompatible materials and devices allowing for precise minimally invasive manipulation and monitoring of neural activity.

In Bioelectronics Group, we are taking two complimentary materials approaches to neural recording and stimulation: (1) Flexible polymer and hybrid optoelectronic fibers for intimate neural interfaces; (2) Magnetic nanomaterials for minimally invasive manipulation of neural activity. In my talk, I will illustrate how a fabrication process inspired by optical fiber production yields flexible multifunctional probes capable of optical, electronic and pharmacological interfaces with neural tissues in vivo1,2. I will then demonstrate how these fiber-based neural probes can be tailored to applications within a specific part of nervous system such as the brain or spinal cord. Finally, my talk will cover materials synthesis and physics that enable minimally invasive neural stimulation via functional fusion of magnetic nanomaterials and ion channels on neuronal membranes3. I will describe applications of the remote magnetothermal paradigm in stimulation of intact brain circuits, and illustrate how materials design can enable multiple interrogation modalities with alternating magnetic fields.

November 6, 2015
NEC Seminar


October 30, 2015
NEC Seminar
9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Elizabeth Heald
Title: An Investigation of Below-Injury Myoelectric Signals in Complete SCI
Advisor: Prof. Peckham

Abstract: Having a sufficient number and quality of control sources is a very important component of our goal of restoring multiple functions in a neuroprosthetic system. We are investigating the use of below-injury EMG as a possible source for control. In most subjects diagnosed with complete SCI, we are still able to record some EMG activity from distal below-injury muscles. This presentation will detail our plans to implement a biofeedback-based training protocol for improving the command signal properties of these signals. Successful implementation of this training could lead to below-injury signals being incorporated into a multi-function neuroprosthetic system.

October 23, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Presenter: Julie Murphy
Advisor: Dr. Ron Triolo
Title: Developing Selective Stimulation Paradigms with a 16-channel C-FINE

Abstract: Standing after spinal cord injury using electrical stimulation depends on, among many other factors, how much moment the stimulated muscles can produce and how long they can produce that moment. Nerve cuff electrodes with multiple channels can be used to selectively stimulate different synergistic muscles in a revolving pattern in order to give fibers a chance to rest and ideally prolong standing. To find the optimal parameter set to achieve this goal, a C-FINE (compliant flat interface nerve electrode) will be chronically implanted on the feline sciatic to stimulate ankle plantar and dorsiflexors. This seminar will discuss the initial selectivity results during acute feline implants and the plans to develop a controller to automatically tune stimulation paradigms to produce a constant ankle moment.

October 16, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Presenters: Tom Mortimer and Andrew Shoffstall
Title: Every Graduate of the Neural Engineering Center Should Know before leaving Case
Fun Topic: What Many Women Think Men Should Know, Especially Those Male Products of Neural Engineering Center

October 9, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Luis Gonzales-Reyes
Title: GABAergic interneurons are the cellular source of the morphogen protein Sonic Hedgehog in the adult hippocampus. Anatomical, optogentic and toxicological evidence

Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is a trophic protein that induces proliferation and differentiation in the CNS during development and is potentially involved in neuroplasticity and neural repair in the adult brain. Although, Shh has been shown to influence dentate gyrus (DG) adult neurogenesis, both the cellular source of the molecule and the mechanism of Shh release in the adult brain remain undetermined. Recently, it has been reported that optogenetic stimulation of GABA neurons has a regulatory effect on adult neurogenesis, but it is still not understood how GABAergic neurons can induce both trophic and inhibitory actions simultaneously. Here, we used immunohistochemistry, optogenetic and toxicological strategies to evaluate the source of Shh in the hippocampus. We found that GABAergic neurons in the hilus and SGZ neurogenic niches are the source of local Shh in the DG. This finding suggests that many of the actions attributed to GABA transmission can operate through the Shh signaling pathway. Selective stimulation of GABA neurons from the hilus using optogenetic leads to upregulation of Shh pathway members transcription (Shh, Ptc-1, Gli-1,2,3) in the DG. The GABAergic neurons that express Shh were selectively resistant to kainic acid toxicity, showing that Shh confers a survival advantage to Shh positive GABAergic neurons in DG and CA1/CA3 sub-regions of the hippocampus. Furthermore, stimulation of Shh signaling pathway by a Smoothened agonist induced antiepileptic effects in the KA model of epilepsy.

October 2, 2015
Neural Prosthesis Seminar

8:30am, Tinkham Veale Senior Classroom, Room 134
Speaker: D Michael Ackermann, PhD
President and CEO
Oculeve Incorporated
Title: Neurostimulation Therapy for Dry Eye & Spinning Out a Med-Tech Start-up from a University

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Oculeve Incorporated was founded from the Stanford University Biodesign program in 2012. The company developed a neurostimulation therapy for dry eye disease, which has since been approved in Europe, Canada and Australia. The product is currently undergoing it's US pivotal trial, and the company was recently acquired by Allergan, Inc. The lecture will tell the Oculeve story with focus on the spin-out from the University.

September 25, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00 am NORD 400
Speaker: Allison Hess-Dunning, Ph.D.
Title: Bio-inspired Systems Toward Locally-Responsive Brain Interfaces

Long-term, reliable interfaces to the nervous system require seamless integration between the engineered device and the biological system. Existing intracortical interfaces integrate poorly with the tissue, resulting in challenges relating to long-term viability and reliability. A tissue-like polymer nanocomposite enhances bio-integration, but requires innovative microfabrication strategies to be built into a functional device. During this talk, I will describe the development of a mechanically-dynamic neural probe for electrical signal recording. The neural probe serves as the first step toward locally-responsive devices capable not only of neural recording, but also other modalities of interfacing with tissue. Specifically, neurochemical sensing and microfluidic drug delivery capabilities currently under development will be discussed.

September 11, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am NORD 400
Speaker: Andrew Shoffstall, Ph.D.
Title: "Healthcare Strategy Consulting: What It Is and My Lessons Learned"

Topics Covered:
* Overview of types of consulting careers available with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering
* Types of projects a healthcare strategy consultant works on
* The consulting process (day-to-day)
* Key takeaways for researchers and NEC

September 4, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am NORD 400
Dr. Nathan Makowski
Title: Title: Improving walking after stroke with an implanted neuroprosthesis for hip, knee and ankle control: a case report

Stroke is a leading cause of disability and many stroke survivors have difficulty walking. Through weakness and impaired coordination, patients lose movement at the hip, knee, and ankle. Many patients would benefit from an intervention that addresses impairment at each joint. A fully implanted Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) system to improve walking was tested in a participant after stroke.

The FES system was implanted with channels to assist hip, knee, and ankle movement. After implantation, a stimulation pattern that coordinated stimulation timing was created to assist with movement. The participant practiced walking with stimulation in the laboratory. The participant was evaluated three times: 1) before training without stimulation, 2) after training without stimulation, and 3) after training with stimulation. The data demonstrate the contributions of a multi-channel FES system to post-stroke walking and compare the effects of training and walking with the device on and off.

August 14, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am NORD 400
Remy Niman: Development of an Ankle Moment Transducer for Intraoperative Testing of Nerve Cuff Electrodes
Advisor: RJ Triolo

Joonhyuk Lee: Application of a Viable Closed-Loop Sensor System in FES Cycling
Advisor RJ Triolo

Nathan Kostick: title TBA
Advisor DM Duran

August 14, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am NORD 400
Speaker: Ivana Cuberovic
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: "Toward Creating a Sensation of Stereognosis in Amputees using Nerve Stimulation"

Current efforts to restore sensation in upper limb amputees through extraneural electrical stimulation have proven successful at generating sensations at individual locations. Sensory neuropsychology shows that spatio-temporal combination of individual sensations results in more complex percepts such as motion or shape perception. Specifically, stereognosis (tactile object recognition) requires the integration of cutaneous and proprioceptive feedback across the hand. We hypothesize that we can recreate the perception of stereognosis using electrical stimulation. Current hardware is limited in its ability to produce such stimuli patterns, thus necessitating the development of more flexible hardware. This presentation will give an overview of our lab’s current efforts towards eliciting stereognosis and will provide details on key aspects of software development for improved control of stimulation.

August 13, 2015
Neuromodulation presentation

10:00 am, Wolstein 6th floor classroom
Speaker: Cora de Hemptinne, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
Subject: Therapeutic deep brain stimulation reduces cortical phase-amplitude coupling in Parkinson's disease.

August 7, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Nicholas Couturier
Advisor: Dr. Durand
Title: “Sensory Stimulation for the Suppression of Seizures”

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.

July 31, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Aditya Girish
Advisor: Prof. Erin Lavik
Title: “Hemostatic Nanoparticles: Applications in Blast Trauma & Maximizing Clotting Parameters”

Blast trauma injuries account for the overwhelming majority of battlefield deaths. Primary blast injury leads to uncontrolled hemorrhage in sensitive organs, including the brain and spinal cord, which is linked with the high mortality rates. Despite advances in protective equipment that can increase chances of surviving blasts, victims often face a reduction in cognitive ability and endure severe psychological problems. Past studies involving rodents subjected to full body blasts have validated hemostatic nanoparticles as an intervention to stave off life-threatening hemorrhage. Ongoing blast trauma experiments in collaboration with Virignia Tech have focused on using drug-loaded hemostatic nanoparticles, and evaluating behavioral outcomes in surviving rodents as metrics of neurological state post-injury. Concurrent in vitro work focuses on re-engineering nanoparticles in order to further enhance and accelerate the clotting process upon severe injury.

July 24, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Rajat Shivacharan
Title: “ Can neural activity propagate via electric fields?”

Although electric fields are frequently overlooked due to more prominent neuron to neuron communication such as synaptic transmission, current studies on epileptiform behavior strongly suggest electric field transmission can play an important role in neural propagation. Experiments conducted in our lab have shown that propagation of epileptiform behavior in rodent hippocampi propagates at a unique speed of 0.1 m/s and can take place in the absence of synaptic transmission, leaving electric field as the logical mode of transmission. However, none of these studies show that the spontaneous bursting activity is solely generated from electric fields. Using in vitro experiments, we test the hypothesis that spontaneous epileptiform activity in the hippocampus can propagate via electric fields.

July 10, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Hillary Bedell
Advisor: Dr. Capadona
Title: “Targeting peripheral blood-derived cells to reduce inflammation at the neural interface”

We are in the “Era of the Brain”. A large part of the United States’ current BRAIN Initiative is to develop new and improve existing technologies used to drastically increase our understanding of the brain, both healthy and diseased states. Our lab is part of an ongoing effort to understand why devices fail so we can improve existing technologies to perform to their full potential. One of the devices used to increase our knowledge of the brain and aid in rehabilitation for patients with neurological disorders is the intracortical microelectrode. Our lab has previously identified two biological pathways that play a role in the failure of these devices: the breakdown of the blood brain barrier with subsequent myeloid cell infiltration and a specific inflammatory pathway. The overarching goal of my project is to learn more about the role infiltrating blood-derived cells play in the failure of intracortical microelectrodes to identify a more translational therapeutic approach. Over the past year I have spent my time on my first aim: determining if the CD14 pathway and infiltration of myeloid cells are interconnected. Thus, in my presentation I will detail the background of my project and the steps taken to date.

June 24, 2015
Special Lecture
1:00pm, NORD 400
Speaker: Manfred Franke
Title: Practical Point of View on Patents

We will answer a few questions to start with and then dive into Q&A to make things more practical:

- What is worth covering with IP - aka "Does it enable a new device path, treatment approach or even industry direction?"
- Why it is worth covering as IP - aka "It's $ 5 to 10 k to secure a patent. Does the patent have a true shot at returning that with a factor of 10x or more?"
- Who to approach to decide on q1 and q2 - a good friend aware of the field, one's own PI, Wayne and Case TTO, eventually Tarolli et al.
- What's the patenting process like with Case and Tarolli et al?
- Why "first patent then publish" and what that means (coversheet provisional a day before posters out etc.)

The plan is for about 30 minutes of lecture to get the basics covered and the questions listed above answered. Te remaining 30 minutes are for Q&A with examples students can provide or some that I will have as a backup.

Students generally learn that to "Write a paper!" is the most important step to graduate school while ignoring the potential that intellectual property (IP) can provide. Students know of the existence of patents, trademarks etc. but have often no idea how IP may be beneficial for them today at Case. Some students even consider patents a bad thing "because knowledge should be public and everyone's to own" without understanding that that's exactly what patents do. By giving students an idea on how to present a conception to others with drawings, formulations and bullet points, I further hope to ease their first steps in the process of deciding it's patentability and getting their message conveyed to Case's Tech Transfer Office (Case TTO).

The lecture is coordinated with Bob Kirsch, Colin Drummond, Wayne Hawthorn (Case TTO), Stephen Fening (Case Coulter) and Craig Hayden (Tarolli et al).

June 12, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Emily Graczyk
Advisor: Dr. Tyler
Title: “Creating tactile sensation: population coding by extraneural nerve stimulation”

Recent literature suggests that coding of tactile sensation in the periphery may depend on the summated responses of a population of activated neurons rather than individual neuron firing rates. By stimulating peripheral nerves with extraneural cuffs, we are able to stimulate populations of sensory neurons and may be able to better replicate innate neural coding than is possible with intraneural electrodes. We are investigating the psychometrics of tactile sensation intensity resulting from peripheral nerve stimulation within the context of population coding. Our goals are to understand how stimulation manipulations affect the intensity of perceived sensations in human subjects and to use our findings in conjunction with models of electrical nerve excitation to further elucidate tactile coding in the peripheral nerve.

June 5, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Frank Willett
Advisor: Dr. Ajiboye
Title: “A Feedback Control Model of Brain-Computer Interfacing”

Intracortical brain-computer interfaces (iBCIs) seek to restore movement and communication to paralyzed individuals by recording cortical neural activity and re-routing it to an external device, such as a robotic arm or computer cursor. iBCIs create a novel feedback loop whose dynamics are determined by the plant (e.g., the mechanical properties of a robotic arm), the noise properties created when decoding from a limited number of stochastic neurons, and the control strategy adopted by the user. Here, we model the feedback loop that emerges when the user’s cortical activity is mapped to 2D cursor velocity with first order smoothing dynamics. Our model can simulate subject-specific reaching movements that are visually indistinguishable from those of three human participants (BrainGate 2 clinical trial) and whose quantitative aspects (movement time, reach straightness, etc.) match those of the user accurately. Using novel methods, we show that the user’s control strategy and use of visual feedback is proficient and adapted to the dynamics of the cursor. The main performance limiting factor appears to be signal independent decoding noise, which pushes the cursor about randomly and does not scale in proportion to the user’s motor command (making it present even when the user intends to stop). Our model could improve iBCI performance by enabling researchers to optimize system parameters in a user-specific way and test more innovations than would be possible in a real user. Our control strategy model could also improve decoder building procedures by more accurately parameterizing the user’s intent.

May 29, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Anna Crawford
Advisor: Dr. Ron Triolo
Title: “Automatic Detection of Destabilizing Wheelchair Conditions for Modulating Actions of Neuroprostheses to Maintain Seated Posture”

Many individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) use wheelchairs as their predominate form of transportation resulting in injuries related to wheelchair related incidents. Functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) has been shown to be effective in wheelchair population over level ground at a comfortable speed, but less effective in other more strenuous tasks. FNS has also been shown to be able to return users to an erect position after a disturbance. The goal of this study is to use wireless sensor accelerometer and gyroscopic technology in order to detect potentially disturbing conditions. By detecting potentially disturbing events, appropriate FNS can be applied in order to keep the user more stable in their chair and prevent injury.

May 22, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Sarah Chang
Advisor: Dr. Ron Triolo
Title: “Designing Orthotic Mechanisms to Control the Stand-to-Sit Maneuver for Individuals with Paraplegia ”

Individuals with paraplegia can use functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) to accomplish sit-to-stand, standing, and stand-to-sit maneuvers. Stand-to-sit (STS) requires eccentric contractions or lengthening of the active quadriceps muscle. However, eccentric contractions are not well controlled with FNS due to a lack of feedback to the extensor muscles during the maneuver. STS using only FNS results in large impact forces at initial contact with the seating surface, high knee angular velocities, and a heavy reliance on the upper limbs. In this study, we are designing and evaluating two different orthotic approaches for controlling the stand-to-sit transition for recipients of implanted neuroprostheses with spinal cord injury.

May 15, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Anisha Rastogi
Advisor: Prof. Bolu Ajiboye
Title: “Role of Motor Imagery in Modulation of the Motor Cortex ”

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) can potentially replace or restore lost motor functions in paralyzed patients by utilizing voluntary, movement-related neural signals to control external effectors. The goal of our work is to elucidate the role of motor imagery – defined as the conscious, kinesthetic imagination of movements – in BCI performance. According to several research endeavors, BCI users do not typically use conscious motor imagery to perform closed-loop BCI control, unless instructed to do so. However, previous literature has suggested that a person’s skill at motor imagery is correlated to their ability to voluntarily modulate neural activity within the motor cortex, the typical source of command signals for BCIs. Our work seeks to determine whether motor imagery training, which has been shown to enhance neural modulation of the motor cortex, translates to improved BCI performance. We also investigate the role of motor imagery in pre-surgical planning of electrode placement for invasive BCIs.

April 20, 2015
Epilepsy Grand Rounds
8:00 AM
Frohring Auditorium, Room 105 of the Biomedical Research Building
Speaker: Nitin Tandon, MD, Associate Professor, Neurosurgery & Pediatric Surgery, University of Texas Medical School.
Topic: Windows on the Mind: Insights into Human Cognition from Intracranial Recordings

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April 10, 2015
MAE Seminar

12:30pm, Glennan, 421
Speaker: Thomas Bulea Ph.D.
Title: Mobile Brain Imaging for Device Augmented Neurorehabilitation

Recent advances in neuroimaging have resulted in techniques that are capable of recording human brain activity in a wide range of environments. Noninvasive methods now enable the study of cortical activity during mobile activities and therefore offer tremendous potential to improve understanding of human motor control and accelerate new therapies for neurological impairments. The Functional and Applied Biomechanics Section of the National Institutes of Health is developing new ways to harness these imaging modalities to improve motor rehabilitation of individuals with central nervous system injuries, with a particular focus on pediatric populations. This talk will illustrate state-of-the art mobile neuroimaging as one component of a multi-modal motion capture laboratory for developing innovative neurorehabilitation paradigms. We will discuss recent advances developed in our lab, including application of powered exoskeletons, surface functional electrical stimulation (FES), user-driven treadmills, and other device augmented therapies for gait rehabilitation in adults and children with cerebral palsy. This work will be explored in the context of other relevant advances to discuss future directions for improving functional recovery in individuals with neurological disorders.

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April 3, 2015
NEC Seminar

9:00am, NORD 400
Speaker: Natalie Cole
Title: Using Extracted Muscle Coordination Patterns for Motor Control

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.

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.