BrainLinks-BrainTools is inviting all members, colleagues and friends to a guest lecture by Dr Giuseppe Schiavone from the Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronics Interfaces in Geneva, which is belonging to the EPFL Biotech Campus:
Soft “e-dura” microtechnology for neural interface application
Abstract: Microtechnology is enjoying ever-increasing popularity amongst researchers and practitioners in the medical field, as many examples of micro-fabricated devices are found today at the interface between body and machine. Microtechnology now enables “smart” medical tools that provide enhanced functionality, i.e. long-lasting, communication interfaces between machines and biology. From a physical-mechanical perspective, this means replacing the hard materials used to produce conventional electronics with alternatives that can effectively coexist and integrate with the soft and dynamic physiological environments of the body. To this end, researchers are drawing inspiration from nature and the living world to create systems that behave similarly to their surrounding environment when deployed in-vivo, with characteristics such as softness, stretchability, and biocompatibility. Our group has developed the so-called “e-dura” soft neurotechnology, a technological toolkit enabling the manufacturing of mechanically compliant electronic implants that can be surgically placed in close contact with the neural tissue of the brain and spinal cord. The e-dura process borrows fabrication techniques from the field of microtechnology, and therefore inherits the benefits of rapid prototyping and design flexibility. Drawing from examples of soft implants from the lab, the talk will highlight the importance of minimizing the physical and mechanical mismatch at the implant-tissue interface, propose a manufacturing route for neurointegrated implants, and outline their therapeutic potential.