B.I.O.N.I.C. Lab

Bio-Integrating Optoelectric Neural Interface Cybernetics Lab

Integrating Innovation over Imagination @ University of Pittsburgh, Department of Bioengineering

"Engineering Brain Healing"

We are a collaborative team of engineering scientists that are pioneering the frontier at the intersect of neurophysiology and neural interface technology

The goals of the lab:

(1) Manipulation of neuronal and non-neuronal cells to influence the function of neuronal networks,

(2) Understanding how to read from or write to the brain, (especially understanding what information is "lost-in-translation" between the brain and the interface),

(3) Improving long-term performance of implanted electrodes and integrating man-made (engineered) technology with the human brain for the purpose of studying normal and injured/diseased nervous systems in vivo at the cellular level, as well as restoring function to patients,

(4) Understanding the role of neuroimmune cells in neuronal damage and regeneration,

(5) Using engineering approach to understand the mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases as well as exploring new treatments. (Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's, Autism)

Specifically, we employ functional in vivo two-photon imaging, functional in vivo electrophysiology (primarily in visual and somatosensory cortex), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, post-mortem immunohistochemistry, intrinsic imaging, cyclic voltammetry, transgenic & AAV, silicon & carbon microelectrodes, polymer devices, electrical and optical stimulation techniques, and biological and pharmaceutical intervention strategies. (see details)

In vivo two-photon movie of GCaMP6f in visual cortex. Blue square indicates duration of visual stimulation into the eye (click for movie).

This unique research facility is focused on developing trainees to blend high-quality hypothesis-driven scientific inquiry and problem solving engineering design skills. Aside from technical training, this lab’s structure is aimed at refining individual’s critical thinking skills and project management skills and prepares next-generation leaders in Neural Engineering and fusing Science & Engineering.

Bionics is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. Our goal is to understand molecular, cellular, and structural biology, so that we can leverage these natural tools to engineer microscale neural interface technologies, as well as develop intervention strategies for brain injury and disease.