UMRAM/NSC-ASBAM Spring 2024 Seminars: ”Soft and Flexible Bioelectronics for Brain-Computer Interfaces”

Dr. Siyuan Zhao

Date: February 8, 2024

Time: 16.30

Place: Zoom

Zoom ID: 375 069 8016

Pass: 505709

Abstract: Stably recording the electrical activity of the same neurons across all relevant timescales is important for understanding the neural activity associated with memory and aging, enhancing brain-computer interface performance, and investigating neurological disorders. However, current implantable devices cannot provide stable recordings over long timescales due to mechanical and structural disparities between brain tissue and devices. Furthermore, these devices are incompatible with clinical imaging techniques of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), due to differences in magnetic susceptibility.

In this talk, I will first introduce flexible and soft bioelectronics with tissue-like properties, capable of tracking the electrical activity of the same neurons in the brains of behaving animals throughout their entire adult lives. Specifically, I will describe a method for the precise implantation of bioelectronics, which features an open, unfolded mesh structure, across multiple brain regions in mice, thereby preventing probe drift during year-long recordings.  Second, I will discuss the fundamental limitations of the electrochemical stability of bioelectronic materials and present our strategies to overcome these limitations, enabling a three-dimensional bioelectronics platform for long-term stable neural electrophysiology in the nervous system. Third, I will present highly MRI-compatible electrodes for simultaneous whole-brain functional MRI and deep brain stimulation (DBS), to reveal the full neuromodulatory effects of DBS in an animal disease model. Finally, I will discuss future advances in developing and applying these electronics for the long-term monitoring and treatment of neurological disorders.

Bio: Dr. Siyuan Zhao is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Professor Jia Liu at the Department of Bioengineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In 2019, he received his Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Xiaojie Duan at the Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University, and his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Shandong University in 2014. He is interested in developing novel materials and bioelectronics to solve fundamental neuroscience questions and biomedical problems.