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Topics in Bioengineering

Soft Designs for Electrode Systems that Communicate with the Nervous System

Stéphanie Lacour, Professor, EPFL

Thursday, Oct 29, 2020

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In the past decade, developments in materials science, electronics and biology have opened pathways to novel and precise communication with biological tissues.  Several of these new designs are being deployed for neuroscience research; some advance towards medical research and therapy. 

The design, manufacturing and implementation of neural interfaces is an interdisciplinary venture by essence.  Functional neuroanatomy guides the topology of the interface.  Neuronal communication drives transducers modalities and interconnections.  Clinical conditions ultimately lead interfaces’ functions and lifetime. 

Soft neural systems take the form of thin-film electronics embedded in polymeric carriers and offer multiple modes of communication and biomechanical stealthing.  This talk will review a range of designs and materials, with associated fabrication techniques, to engineer implantable neural interfaces that can read and modulate neural activity. Examples include wirelessly controlled, conformal optoelectronic implants, soft cortical electrode systems and dura-like electrodes arrays.  Each system is scalable across species and designed to enable long-term use in freely behaving animals.  

Speaker Bio

Stéphanie P. Lacour holds the Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology at the School of Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from INSA de Lyon, France, and completed postdoctoral research at Princeton University (USA) and the University of Cambridge (UK).  She joined EPFL in 2011. Since January 2017, she is full professor in Microengineering and Bioengineering at EPFL.  She is a co-founding member and current director of EPFL Center for Neuroprosthetics, located at EPFL satellite – Campus Biotech in Geneva. 

She is the recipient of the 2006 MIT TR35, the 2011 Zonta award, and she was selected as one of the 2015 WEF Young Global Leaders. She was awarded the ERC Starting Grant (2011), ERC POC Grants (2016 & 2018) and the SNSF Consolidator grant (2016).

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Topics in Bioengineering

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Jessica Brenn