Special Seminar - Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Strategies for Engineering Neural Interfaces and Neural Repair
Date: March 17, 2010
Time: 12:30 PM
Location: Bossone Research Enterprise Center, Room: 709
Yinghui Zhong, PhD
Implantable neural prostheses can have significant implications for the treatment of a wide variety of sensory and movement disorders. However, the long-term performance of the implanted neural prostheses is compromised by the formation of glial scar around these devices, which is a typical consequence of the inflammatory tissue reaction to implantation-induced injury in the CNS. The glial scar is inhibitory to neurons and forms a barrier between the electrodes and neurons. We developed a novel biomaterial-based drug delivery system for neural prostheses to reduce the inflammatory tissue response and improve long-term functional recording. This system enabled sustained release of bioactive agents including proteins, neuropeptide, and small molecule drugs from micron-scale neural prostheses. In vivo study demonstrated that local release of anti-inflammatory agent from implanted neural probes effectively attenuated the cellular and molecular inflammatory response, and reduced neuronal loss in the vicinity of the neural probes. This work represents a promising approach to attenuate astroglial scar around the implanted neural prostheses, and improve the long-term recording stability. Further, I will present my research on using neural stem cells for spinal cord repair. I studied the therapeutic potential of a population of neural stem cells discovered in our laboratory in a spinal cord demyelination model. My study demonstrated that these neural stem cells were capable of differentiating into myelin-forming oligodendrocytes in a demyelinated environment without external manipulation, indicating that they have great potential to be used for spinal cord remyelination and functional repair. In concluding this presentation, I will discuss the challenges for engineering neural interfaces and neural repair, and how biomaterials and tissue engineering strategies can help achieve these goals.
The Bossone Research Enterprise Center is located at the corner of 32nd and Market Streets.