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Focus Session 3

Jacob Robinson

Rice University, USA
Presenter Bio

Dr. Robinson received a B.S. in Physics from UCLA in 2003 and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University in 2008 under advisor Dr. Michal Lipson. After completing his Ph.D.studying silicon nanophotonics he began postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. While at Harvard, Jacob developed silicon nanowire devices to probe the electrical and chemical activity of living cells. In the summer of 2012, he joined the ECE and BioE departments at Rice. He is currently interested in developing nanofabricated devices to study the structural and functional dynamics of living neural circuits.

Abstract: Magnetic materials for miniature neural interfaces
Electrical stimulation of neural circuits is a key tool for studying brain function and developing new therapies for neurological disorders. Traditionally, these electrical stimulators include an implanted pattern generator that includes a battery and a tether connecting the device to the stimulating leads. These components are one of the most common failure points of the system and comprise the vast majority of the implant volume. To create miniature neural implants without lead wires or large IPGs recent work has turned to wireless data and power delivery to miniaturize neural stimulators. The challenge for these devices, however, is the fact that the body absorbs electromagnetic radiation often used to power miniature devices making it difficult to deliver sufficient power within operational safety limits. In this talk I will describe how magnetoelectric (ME) materials offer an efficient method to power millimeter-sized neural implants, achieving power levels of several mW well within the safety limits for human operation. In addition, I will describe how genetic engineering can be combined with magnetic materials to create “magnetic biohybrids” that enable remote control of select biological processes like neural circuit activity and drug production.

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