Local and global impacts of neural probes on long-term brain function and recovery
Dr. Tuan Leng Tay
Dr. Maria Asplund
Advances in bioelectronic probe fabrication have facilitated the development of ultra-flexible, multi-channel, thin electrodes of micrometre range that circumvent excessive brain tissue scarring following single-shaft implantation. Using PEDOT and nano-platinum coatings, the Asplund Lab has further enhanced the local integration of single neural probes through drug release and increased electrochemical performance. To advance bioelectronic devices, an increase in packing density through the administration of multi-shaft probes is desired to allow simultaneous long-term stimulation and recording of thousands of neurons. Moreover, the field of neural interfaces has severely neglected the global physiological impacts of neural implants by an intense focus on local glial scarring. Here, we aim to assess cellular changes and brain function after high-density probe implantation at local and global levels during acute, recovery and post recovery phases of implantation. Our multi-colour reporter mouse model for glia allows in vivo tracking of progression and resolution of gliosis resulting from the surgical procedure. Since multiple brain nuclei emit far-projecting axons, it is imperative to analyse the transcriptional and functional alterations at distant or contralateral brain regions. Our results would point the way for future probe technology, outlining the most important factors to address for making probes truly "invisible" to their recipients.
This initiative is the result of a new collaboration between two outstanding scientiests in an early career stage (both R3). The project started in 2018.