EAS Young Investigators Series - Josh Chen
Advancements in bioelectronic medicine have enabled the treatment of various disorders through neuromodulation. However, existing approaches often require invasive surgeries to reach therapeutic nerve targets and implantation of centimeter-sized devices. In recent years, new wireless power techniques harnessing different electromagnetic and acoustic energies have advanced the miniaturization of implants. In this talk, I highlight magnetoelectric materials as a promising technology for small wireless, battery-free implants while still maintaining the high-power densities and tolerances necessary for clinical use cases. Using these materials, I have developed MagnetoElectric powered Bio-Implants (ME-BITs) to deliver data and power to digitally programmable CMOS system on a chip. As a proof-of-principle, these ME-BITs can stimulate peripheral nerves both directly and from within blood vessels in large animal models creating a new class of endovascular bioelectronics. I further explore developing a new type of magnetoelectric metamaterial by engineering nonlinearities within the composite. This metamaterial is able to modulate the high-frequency magnetoelectric response to low therapeutic frequencies, enabling wireless neuromodulation with high temporal resolution. These works lay the foundation for the development of future wireless bioelectronic implants with even greater power transfer densities with even smaller device footprints. These advancements would allow for new treatments and methods of interfacing with the body in minimally invasive ways.
Biography: Josh Chen is a PhD candidate in Bioengineering at Rice University. His research focuses on developing wireless devices and materials for implantable bioelectronics and new methods to interface with the body. He received his B.Sc. degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Rice, he worked at Verily Life Science (formerly Google Life Science) to develop peripheral nerve interfaces. At Rice, Josh received the NSF GRFP to support his work in the lab of Dr. Jacob Robinson, developing magnetoelectric materials as a new form of wireless power transfer for millimeter-sized battery-free implantable devices. His work has been recognized by various awards including best paper at IEEE MEMS 2017 and IEEE CICC 2021. His research interests lie at the intersection of electronics and biology where he will continue to work toward developing next-generation biohybrid devices for precision medicine.