Speaker: Prof. Michel M. Maharbiz
Affiliation: University of California, Berkeley

Abstract: The emerging field of bioelectronic medicine seeks methods for deciphering and modulating electrophysiological activity in the body to attain therapeutic effects at target organs. Current approaches to interfacing with peripheral nerves and muscles rely heavily on wires, creating problems for chronic use, while emerging wireless approaches lack the size scalability necessary to interrogate small-diameter nerves. Furthermore, conventional electrode-based technologies lack the capability to record from nerves with high spatial resolution or to record independently from many discrete sites within a nerve bundle. Recently, we demonstrated neural dust, a wireless and scalable ultrasonic backscatter system for powering and communicating with implanted bioelectronics. We show that ultrasound is effective at delivering power to mm-scale devices in tissue; likewise, passive, battery-less communication using backscatter enables high-fidelity transmission of electromyogram (EMG) and electroneurogram (ENG) signals from anesthetized rats. These results highlight the potential for an ultrasound-based neural interface system for advancing future bioelectronics-based therapies.

Biography: Michel M. Maharbiz is a Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the extreme miniaturization of technology focused on building synthetic interfaces to cells and organisms. He is known as one of the co-inventors of “neural dust”, an ultrasonic interface for vanishingly small implants in the body. His group is also known for developing the world’s first remotely radio-controlled cyborg beetles. This was named one of the top ten emerging technologies of 2009 by MIT’s Technology Review (TR10) and was in Time Magazine’s Top 50 Inventions of 2009. Prof. Maharbiz received his B.S. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley under nanotechnologist Professor Roger T. Howe (EECS) and synthetic biologist Professor Jay D. Keasling (ChemE); his thesis work led to the foundation of Microreactor Technologies, Inc. which was acquired in 2009 by Pall Corporation. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE (Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society) and a member of the Society for Neuroscience. Prof. Maharbiz is a Chan-Zuckerberg (CZ) Biohub Investigator (2017), a Bakar Fellow (2014), recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009), a GE Scholar and an Intel IMAP Fellow. Michel’s long term goal is understanding developmental mechanisms as a way to engineer and fabricate machines.

For more information contact Professor Sam Emaminejad (emaminejad@ucla.edu)

Date(s) - May 22, 2017
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


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