Synaptic electro-optical brain machine interface

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Monitoring synapse activity of synaptophluorin expressing neurons using an opto-electric transducer.

Synaptic electro-optical brain machine interface

 

Understanding of fundamental neurophysiological mechanisms have led to various practical strategies to interface with the brain which in turn have greatly broadened our knowledge base in brain functionality. The synergy between technological advancement and neuroscientific insight is a clear example of the necessity of multidisciplinary research. At Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF) we work at the forefront of technological and neuroscientific research housed under a single roof. Supported by Imec and VIB infrastructure we have designed and fabricated a next generation brain computer interface (synaptrode) with unprecedented integration capabilities. A molecularly defined interface is formed at the synapse level by inducing synapse formation between neurons and electrodes on chip.

The goal of this project is to take the first steps into building an electro-optical transducer to monitor and manipulate neural activity on the synaptrode platform. In practice, synaptophluorin expressing neurons will be seeded in vitro onto synaptrode functionalized substrates, starting with glass surfaces and gradually working up to integrated optical and electrical circuits.

At Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF), we offer the student a highly immersive experience in an international research environment with access to state-of-the-art equipment and ample opportunity to learn from junior and senior researchers with diverse backgrounds and expertise. We expect highly self-motivated candidates with a curious mindset, good communication skills, and creative problem-solving skills. Mastery of the English language is a must, as well as willingness to expand knowledge across scientific disciplines. The project consists of 20% literature study, 30% fabrication, and 30% imaging and analysis.

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Type of project: Thesis

Duration: 1 academic year

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science

Required background: Biomedical engineering, Bioscience Engineering, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Sebastian Haesler (Sebastian.Haesler@nerf.be) and Jasper Timmerman (Jasper.Timmerman@nerf.be)

Only for self-supporting students.

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