Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 MASSACHUSETTS AVE
Gen & Age Rel Disabilities Eng,
Program Reference Code(s):
004E, 017E, 1045, 137E
Program Element Code(s):
This CAREER proposal aims to bridge the gap between advanced optoelectronic
materials design and invasive and outdated devices used to treat neurological
disorders. By developing flexible, biocompatible polymer-based optoelectronic scaffolds
(OPTELS) a strategy for incorporating individual optically sensitive neurons into neural
recording and stimulation devices will be created. These trapped neurons will be
investigated as relays of optical stimulation or inhibition to intact neural networks, which
will potentially enable future clinical applications of optogenetics, a powerful optical
neural stimulation tool, without genetic modification of the patient. Specifically the
project will be focused on the following objectives: (1) Developing fiber-inspired
fabrication methods for hollow-core polymer-based OPTELS and employing them to
isolate key materials parameters (surface geometry, charge, flexibility) contributing to
survival and growth of electronically active neurons; (2) Using OPTELS to investigate
and control neuronal growth with the goal of axonal guidance along the OPTELS core.
The proposed study will explore chemical, optoelectronic and mechanical stimuli and
employ OPTELS ability to record and stimulate neural activity to determine factors
contributing to axonal growth; (3) Employing neurons trapped in OPTELS cores as relay
devices of optical neural interrogation. Genetic modification will be applied to the
neurons trapped within the OPTELS cores to enable expression of light-sensitive ion
channels - opsins. The controlled formation of synapses between these relay neurons
and the outside networks will be applied to the investigation of optogenetic interrogation
of the network without directly genetically modifying it.
The proposed project will explore materials interfaces between optoelectronic devices
and neural tissues providing a pathway towards intimate physiological neuroprosthetic
devices for treatment of debilitating neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease
or spinal cord injury. The educational and outreach components of the project are
designed to enhance materials engineering and optoelectronics education at MIT and at
inner city community colleges through classroom training and hands-on laboratory
internships. Specifically the outreach program aims to increase awareness about the
impact of engineering in medicine among community college students and teachers
through the seminar series "Medical Electronics and Optics: Life-saving Engineering",
and 10-week research and education summer internships in the PIs laboratory. In
addition new lecture material and device-design based assignments will be developed
for the core undergraduate course on optical and electronic materials and a graduate
photonics course will be adapted to senior undergraduates with the goal of advancing
optoelectronics knowledge among the students. The educational materials will be made
available to worldwide community of learners through an open MIT web-based
PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH
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Andres Canales, Xiaoting Jia, Ulrich P. Froriep, Ryan A. Koppes, Christina M. Tringides, Jennifer Selvidge, Chi Lu, Lei Wei, Chong Hou, Yoel Fink, and Polina Anikeeva. "Multimodal Fibers for Optical, Electrical and Chemical Interrogation of Neural Circuits in Vivo," Nature Biotechnology, 2015.
Chi Lu, Ulrich P. Froriep, Ryan A. Koppes, Andres Canales, Vittorio Caggiano, Jennifer Selvidge, Emilio Bizzi, and Polina Anikeeva. "Polymer Fiber Probes Enable Optical Control of Spinal Cord and Muscle Function In Vivo," Advanced Functional Materials, v.42, 2014, p. 6594.
Koppes, R.A., Park, S., Hood, T., Jia, X., Poorheravi, N.A., Achyuta, A.K.H., Fink, Y., Anikeeva, P.. "Thermally Drawn Fibers as Nerve Guidance Scaffolds," Biomaterials, v.81, 2016, p. 27.
Seongjun Park, Ryan A. Koppes, Xiaoting Jia, Anil Kumar H. Achyuta, Bryan L. McLaughlin, Polina Anikeeva. "Optogenetic control of nerve growth," Scientific Reports, v.5, 2015, p. 9669.