Strand 3: Wireless Optogenetic Nanonetwork for Brain Stimulation

Researchers: Dr. Michael Barros, Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam

Collaborators: Prof. Josep Miquel Jornet, University at Buffalo, State University of New York; Stefanus Wirdatmadja, Prof. Yevgeni Koucheryavy, Tampere University of Technology, Finland.

Optogenetics is a method of artificially stimulating neural communication using light. This requires neurons to be engineered so that they are sensitive to light at specific wavelengths in order to have either excitatory or inhibitory effects. The research in this strand aims to develop miniature devices using nanoscale components, which we term Wireless Optogenetic Nanoscale Device (WiOptND), and embedding them into the cortex to enable single-neuron level stimulation. The devices will be charged through ultrasound signals, which in turn will vibrate a nanowire unit that will generate energy to power an LED. The ultrasound unit will be placed under the dura (sub-dura transceiver), which in turn will communicate with an external transceiver that is placed outside the head.

TBI will investigate how a network of WiOptNDs that are placed in the cortex, can be used to synchronously stimulate multiple neurons, for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.



Research Objectives:

  • Modeling light propagation in the brain tissue to determine the required intensity needed for successful stimulation.
  • Developing wireless charging protocols to enable parallel charging, which could maximize the firing ratio of neurons, while minimizing energy dissipation from the sub-dura transceiver.
  • Incorporating neural spike prediction schemes to minimize knowledge required for charging and triggering the WiOptNDs for neural stimulation.

The WiOptND nanonetwork, which will be placed in different layerws of the cortical column, can provide new opportunities for future Brain-Machine Interface. This could lead to long-term deployments of WiOptNDs in the brain.

Selected Publications:

  • Stefanus A. Wirdatmadja, Michael Taynnan Barros, Yevgeni Koucheryavy, Josep Miquel Jornet, Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Wireless Optogenetic Nanonetworks: Device Model and Charging Protocols, submitted for journal publication. 2017.
  • Wirdatmaja, S., Balasubramaniam, S., Koucheryavy, Y., Jornet, J.M., Wireless Optogenetic Neural Dust for Deep Brain Stimulation, in Proc. of IEEE Healthcom, Munich, Germany, September 2016.