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Bioengineer receives $2.9 million grant to improve brain implants
Date:6/18/2014

es for a cell adhesion molecule called L1, which has shown positive results in animal models. In addition to gaining better understanding of the mechanisms behind L1's preliminary success, Cui also plans to pursue and test several other targets.

Pitt Professor of Neurobiology Andrew Schwartz, who is leading a study of the robotic arm technology used by Scheuermann and serving as a co-investigator on Cui's team, believes in the potential of the project.

"We did one array, and we had spectacular results," he says. "We had very nice recordings with large signals, and they lasted longer than what we would normally see. I'm excited about the possibility."

Schwartz says that the initial experiments have shown that the coating extends the viability of neural recording via microelectrode arrays by about six months beyond what is now a nine-to-12-month window.

Another important component of the grant is funding that will be used to explore a new microscopy technique that will allow Cui and colleagues to monitor the function of L1 and other tested molecules in a living animal.

"In vivo imaging will allow us to see which neurons are firing and which are not active and, therefore, not being recorded," she says.

Cui's work could advance not only brain-computer interface technology but also other technologies that use microelectrode arrays to help restore sight, hearing, movement, ability to communicate, and cognitive function.


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Contact: Joe Miksch
jmiksch@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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