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Chapter Activities - 2010
September

On September 14, 2010, Liang Guo presented "Stretchable Microelectrode Arrays (MEAs): A Technology Platform and Its Biomedical Applications." Electrically interfacing with the nervous system holds promise both for understanding the underlying physiological mechanisms and for providing unique diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to neurological disorders and disabilities. The communications are made possible through electrodes that transduce ion-based bioelectrical current in neural/muscular tissues to electron-based current in artificial electronics during recording or vice versa during stimulation. To increase the signal dimensionality, needle-like microelectrode arrays (MEAs) have been built, primarily using rigid materials such as silicon and metals, for insertion into the tissue. However, besides causing trauma during insertion, these devices often fail in the long run due to tissue and/or device damages caused by micro-motions between the hard material and surrounding tissues. Therefore, soft MEAs are developed using polymeric substrates such as polyimide, parylene, SU-8, etc., among which the truly compliant material, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS, i.e., silicone rubber), has the closest mechanical modulus to soft tissues. Moreover, when used as a surface neural interface, the PDMS-based device also has the capability of confirming to the complex tissue surface to provide a uniform and tight contact. The combination of surface stimulation and recording with compliant MEAs provides a novel and potentially powerful method for both basic neuroscience research and neural prosthetics. The presentation will describe state of the art of PDMS-based stretchable MEA technology for neural/muscular surface interfacing.

Liang Guo received the B.S. degree in biomedical engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 2004. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Bioengineering Program at Georgia Institute of Technology.

His research interest focuses on neural interfacing technology, including microelectrode arrays, simultaneous recording and stimulation, circuits, signal processing, and prostheses. While having addressed major challenges associated with the microfabrication of PDMS-based stretchable electronics, his research has led to a technology platform of ultra high-density PDMS-based microelectrode arrays with integrated packaging for numerous promising neural interfacing applications.

Mr. Guo is a Student Member of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Materials Research Society. He is also a Full Member of Sigma Xi.

The IEEE EMB Society is grateful to Mr. Guo for giving this presentation.

April

On April 13, 2010, Dr. Gang Bao presented "Nanomedicine: Developing Nanotechnology for Medicine." The recent advent in nanotechnology has provided unprecedented opportunities for medicine. Due to the size-compatibility of nano-scale structures with proteins and nucleic acids, the application of nano-science and nano-engineering to medicine has the potential to achieve a better control of biological processes, and drastic improvements in disease detection, treatment, and prevention. In this talk I will present some nanomedicine research activities in my lab and elsewhere, including the development of nanoprobes for molecular imaging, nanocarriers for drug/gene delivery, and studies of nanomachines inside living cells. Examples will be given to illustrate the potential application of nanotechnology to the detection and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and sickle cell disease.

Dr. Gang Bao is Robert A. Milton Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a College of Engineering Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. He is Director of the NHLBI Program of Excellence in Nanotechnology at Emory University and Georgia Tech, and Director of the NIH Nanomedicine Development Center at Georgia Tech. Dr. Bao received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Shandong University in China, and his PhD in Applied Mathematics from Lehigh University. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Advancement in Science (AAAS), a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Dr. Bao's current research is focused on the development of nanotechnology and biomolecular engineering tools for biological and disease studies, including molecular beacons, magnetic nanoparticle probes, quantum dot bioconjugates, activitable molecular probes, and protein tagging/targeting methods. These approaches have been applied to cancer research, the analysis and detection of plaque formation in cardiovascular disease, viral infection detection, and the studies of nucleoprotein machines.

The IEEE EMB Society is grateful to Dr. Bao for giving this presentation.

January

On January 28, 2010, Michael Sorensen, Ph.D. presented "How to solve math fast: low-cost, high-performance biophysical simulation on multi-core processors and GPUs." The multi-core revolution is over: 2, 4, or even 8-core workstations are now common for most technical computing professionals. The next revolution in computing is already beginning: massively multi-core hardware in which 100s of processor cores will be available. nVidia, Inc. has been leading the charge with the introduction of their CUDA architecture for general-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) computing, and their Tesla series of GPGPU processors.

Effective multi-core programming is, however, still underutilized by most users, who have neither the technical background, time, or inclination to parallelize their code for these new architectures. Simatra's simEngine compiler is an application designed to automatically parallelize numerical simulations for multi-core and massively multi-core architectures. For scientists and engineers looking to create powerful numerical simulations with a minimal amount of coding, the simEngine platform provides an intuitive, flexible, and powerful workflow. Michael discussed the background of simEngine and how it can be used to provide performance gains over 300 times greater than a conventional single-core processor.

Michael Sorensen founded Simatra Modeling Technologies in 2006 with Randy Weinstein and Robert Lee from the Georgia Tech Laboratory for Neuroengineering. The IEEE EMB Society is grateful to Mr. Sorensen for giving this presentation.

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