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Joint Electrical Engineering Systems & Medical Engineering Seminar

Monday, May 10, 2021
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Online Event
Smart NFC implantable optogenetic neuromodulator for frontier neuroscience research
Abraham Vázquez-Guardado, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, Northwestern University,

Zoom event: https://caltech.zoom.us/j/89204367130
Meeting ID: 848 9813 8649
Passcode: 467677

Optogenetics is a powerful and well-established neuromodulating technique that uses light to manipulate the genetically modified light-sensitive neuron cells in-vivo. Its versatility has been extensively exploited in the understanding of causal neuronal modulation that leads to behavior modulation in free behaving animal models. However, the study of behavioral paradigms that involve social groups is limited with traditional optogenetic neurotechnologies, such as optical fibers. The recent advancements in wireless, battery-free subdermal optogenetics implants offer novel solutions to interface with small animal models in naturalistic environments and without the encumbrances of heavy headsets or physical tethers. In this context, I present a novel subdermal battery-free active optogenetic neurostimulator that promises to narrow the gap between frontier neuroscience research and current technological limitations. This technology leverages wireless power transfer, employs standardized near field communication protocols, and use low-cost electronic and optoelectronic components, all synergistically integrated with the supportive control software and hardware, to produce powerful and robust minimally invasive all-wireless subdermal devices with unprecedented capabilities not feasible with neither state-of-the-art wireless optogenetics devices nor fiber optics implants. For example, social engagement involves neuronal synchrony of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex previously documented in pairs of mammal models, such as rats or bats. In this talk I show evidence that synchronized optogenetic stimulation using our implantable devices drive social interaction in groups of up to three mice sharing same experimental enclosure. This demonstration validates the robustness of our smart optogenetics devices that have the potential to facilitate frontier research in neuroscience.

For more information, please contact Tanya Owen by email at tanya@caltech.edu.