Headed by Kevin J. Tracey, researchers within our Center for Biomedical Science explore the molecular basis of inflammation and identify the mechanisms by which neurons control the immune system. These discoveries are shared with the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine to develop devices to stimulate the nervous system to help the body treat itself. Researchers in the Center discovered the inflammatory reflex – how the brain controls the immune system – which is a basis for many of the bioelectronic medicine devices in development.
Under the leadership of Chad Bouton and Yousef Al-Abed, the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine is organized into three divisions or areas of research focus – Neurotechnology and Analytics, Molecular Targets, and Neurophysiology and Neuroscience – each of which has several labs. To translate knowledge of the body’s neural code into bioelectronic devices, the labs in Center for Bioelectronic Medicine use a first-of-its-kind team-based approach, combining expertise in neuroscience, molecular and cell biology, and bioengineering in each study. This allows us to rapidly develop bioelectronic medicine technologies to record, stimulate, and block neural signals.
Neurotechology and Analytics Division
Headed by Chad Bouton, the Neurotechology and Analytics Division develops core technology for a new generation of research tools and bioelectronic devices. These innovations are based on research conducted in this division and through collaborations with Feinstein Institute labs outside of the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine. The following labs make up the division:
Bioelectronics and Biosensing Lab: focuses on designing low power electronics, wireless neural stimulation and recording technology, as well as biosensors for closed loop responsive stimulation devices. We are also developing implantable electronics for neural interfaces and sensors.
Microfabrication Lab: houses a Class 100 clean room where we are developing flexible neural interfaces for neural stimulation and sensing, specialized biomedical microelectromechanical (BioMEM) devices and biosensors to detect various bio-markers.
Neural Decoding & Data Analytics Lab: develops machine-learning algorithms, signal processing for neural decoding, numerical modeling of neural circuits and closed-loop/smart bioelectronic medicine devices. Here we use the ongoing mathematical modeling of neural circuits to advance the underlying science and technology to treat multiple diseases and conditions.
Neural Bypass Lab: explores ways to restore movement and sensory feedback in paralyzed study participants. We develop technology that decodes and re-routes signals from the brain to the muscles with applications to spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological conditions.
Rapid Prototyping Lab: develops new methods for accelerating the prototyping phase of development for devices developed in other labs within the Center. Capabilities include solid modeling, 3D printing, and CNC fabrication.
The Molecular Targets Division
Headed by Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, the Molecular Targets Division explores the body’s mechanisms and how they impact disease and medical conditions. These findings will identify triggers of both disease and health, which can then be further studied to create bioelectronic medicine treatments. The Molecular Targets Division is made up of the following labs:
Medicinal Chemistry Lab: creates molecules to be used in studies which test the effectiveness of therapeutic targets for different diseases and conditions. These findings are used to compare the effectiveness of traditional medicine to bioelectronic devices on specific targets within the body.
Computational Chemistry Lab: uses computer modeling of molecular targets and cells to predict the body’s interactions and effects to treatment with bioelectronic devices.
Molecular Medicine Lab: works in collaboration with other divisional labs to validate therapeutic targets found in computer models on the human body. In this lab, traditional small molecule therapeutics are compared to bioelectronic-driven therapies to test efficacy and its effects on other non-target parts of the body.
Electrochemistry Lab: develops novel testing molecules and devices using the principles of electrochemistry and bioelectronics. These make it possible for researchers to measure the impact of proposed bioelectronic devices on the body.
Neurophysiology and Neuroscience Division
Researchers in the Neurophysiology and Neuroscience Division map the human nervous system to unlock the full potential of bioelectronic medicine. Working with the other divisions, the labs of the Neurophysiology Division identify the viable nerve pathways for treating devastating diseases and conditions. It is these neural pathways that can benefit from the different types of bioelectronics devices being developed. The Neurophysiology and Neuroscience Division is in development and will be made up of the following labs:
Pre-Clinical Lab: focuses on the development and testing of novel in-house microfabricated devices and innovative methodologies in pre-clinical models of disease. Further, the lab focuses on optimizing protocols for specific pre-clinical disease models (e.g. inflammatory diseases). We use a variety of different approaches including electrical, optical and biosensing interfacing for the development of novel devices.
Translational Neurophysiology Lab: utilizes a variety of techniques from neurophysiology and cardiovascular physiology, chronic implants, experimental surgical and interventional techniques, and bioelectronic systems for closed-loop neural recording and stimulation, both in health and in disease models.
Peripheral Nervous System Lab
Central Nervous System Lab
Clinical Research Lab