Focused Session Q-6
Materials Nanotechnologies for Implantable Neural Interfaces

Programme Chair:
Stefano VASSANELLI, University of Padova, Italy
Christopher BETTINGER, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Jeffrey R. CAPADONA, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Xinyan Tracy CUI, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Stephanie P. LACOUR, EPFL, Switzerland
Charles M. LIEBER, Harvard University, USA
George G. MALLIARAS, Ecole Nat. Sup. des Mines de Saint Etienne, France
Vivian K. MUSHAHWAR, University of Alberta, Canada
Yoonkey NAM, KAIST, South Korea
Jun OHTA, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
Christelle PRINZ, Lund University, Sweden
Philippe RENAUD, EPFL, Switzerland
Davide F. RICCI, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy
Mario I. ROMERO-ORTEGA, University of Texas at Dallas, USA

Christopher BETTINGER, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Jeffrey R. CAPADONA / John HERMANN, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Rylie A. GREEN, University of New South Wales, Australia
Yael HANEIN, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Stephanie P. LACOUR, EPFL, Switzerland
Christelle PRINZ, Lund University, Sweden
Stephen E. SADDOW, University of South Florida, USA
Interfacing of external electronics to the human nervous system has been already shown to provide a powerful tool to better sensing, understanding and modulating neural functions at the central and peripheral levels. The development of implantable neural interfaces has enabled large-scale and high-resolution recording of neuronal populations in vivo and opened new application perspectives for neuroscience and for the therapy of neurological disorders. If, on one hand, a new investigation window has been opened on brain function by getting better access to brain microcircuits, on the other hand these novel neural interfaces may represent a means to partially restore lost function in the nervous system of neurological patients. The reliability and endurance of the implant, the degradation with time of neural function caused by implant/tissue mismatches in stiffness, insertion-associated injuries and foreign body reactions represent all serious problems to be overcome. However, other complex challenges are to be faced along this route, including the stable sensing of weak signals from individual or a few neurons for long periods and the implementation of microstimulation paths for a two-way control of neuronal activity. Developing new materials and architectures allowing for an efficient bi-directional interfacing of microelectronic devices with the nervous tissue and  providing  a high degree of biocompatibility is therefore key for successful application of neural interfaces.
This Focused Session will feature recent progress in this challenging research field whose breakthroughs are expected to have a relevant impact on the treatment of disorders of the nervous system such as e.g. spinal cord injuries, neurovegetative diseases such as e.g. Parkinson’s, autism, severe mental illness, and visual cortex and retina diseases.

Abstracts are solicited in the following and related topics:

-  Novel electrode materials:
nanotubes/nanowire arrays, noble metal nanostructures, functional ceramics, conductive polymers, bioactive hydrogels, bioinspired mechanically adaptive nanocomposites, optically active materials, ECM-based materials/scaffolds, stretchable semiconductor-on-polymer electronics …

-  In-vitro neural interfacing studies:
neural tissue culture platforms; citotoxicity/biocompatibility; electrical properties..

Electrochemistry of electrode-electrolyte interfaces

-  Substrate micro/nano structuring for neural development

-  Thin film-based technologies for neuroprosthetics

-  Surface functionalization at the nanoscale

-  Deep-brain electrode  interfacing

-  Pheripheral neural interfacing

-  Multifunctional neural interfaces

-  Mechanical and electronic properties of implantable neural recording and stimulation devices

-  In-vivo studies; systemic (physical, chemical, electrical) response to implanted neural interfaces

-  Signal processing, reliability; long term implant stability.


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