Date(s) - 02/13/2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
My laboratory is dedicated to understanding and mitigating the neuroinflammatory response to implanted devices within the central nervous system. Such devices range from ventricular shunts to various types of stimulating and recording electrodes. Neural devices range in material type, size, architecture, function, and placement. Regardless of any of these variables, the neuroinflammatory response to the implant plays a significant role on the integrity of the healthy tissue and the longevity of device performance. A progressive decline in recordings quality after implantation has been known for over 40 years. Unfortunately, recording instability is still a commonly documented problem. A major portion of my work has focused on studying various aspects of intracortical microelectrode performance, and pursuing both materials-based and therapeutic-based methods to mitigate the inflammatory-mediated intracortical microelectrode failure mechanisms. My lab utilizes basic science techniques to provide a more complete mechanistic understanding of the molecular and biological-mediated failure modes for intracortical microelectrodes. This increased understanding provides the framework for the development of targeted materials-based and therapeutic attempts to impact intracortical microelectrode performance. This seminar will provide an overview of the recent highlights and promising strategies to enable long-term clinical successes of intracortical microelectrodes.
I attended Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, and started as a Chemistry/Biology major, with aspirations for medical school. One of the most impactful moments in my life occurred during my junior year of college. I herniating two discs in my back while training for baseball. That injury taught me that medical treatment possibilities are limited by scientific innovations. So, I decided to attend graduate school in a research environment where I could apply my chemistry background towards improving orthopedic implant development. After graduating with a PhD in Chemistry (Biomedical Engineering minor) from the Georgia Institute of Technology, I moved to Cleveland and took a position with the Advanced Platform Technology Center (APTC). The APTC is a research center of excellence at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. There, I was introduced to the world of medical devices that interface with the nervous system, especially the brain. I instantly fell in love with the potential life-saving / life-changing impact that developing more stable materials and devices could enable. In August 2010, I began a tenure track appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. I received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2015, Full Professor in 2019, and have been Executive Vice Chairman since 2022. My research has focused on developing strategies to prevent the body from rejecting various type of brain implants. The implants we work on range from ventricular shunts to drain excess fluid in the brain to electrodes that record brain activity to enable patients to regain movement of damaged limbs or use computers by thinking about the activity. My research has so far resulted in over 80 peer reviewed scientific manuscripts and multiple patents. However, the most rewarding achievements in are mentoring students to the completion of their own PhD degrees, based on research in my laboratory.