The Lieber group has a large program focused on a conceptually novel approach for integrating electronics within the brain and other areas of the nervous system, which involves the development of neural network-like mesh electronics and a noninvasive delivery method into targeted distinct brain regions via syringe-injection. We are actively exploiting this new paradigm for tackling fundamental questions in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, and as a powerful new approach for treatment of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, and ultimately enhancing human performance via brain-machine interface. Areas of current research interest include the following:
- Development of mesh electronics paradigm. We are pursuing a broad range of studies focused on development of syringe-injectable mesh electronics to extend the capabilities of this breakthrough methodology for fundamental neuroscience research through clinical applications, including (i) incorporation of multifunctional electrical, chemical and optical recording and stimulation capabilities, (ii) implementation of highly multiplexed electronic networks and (iii) development of modular automated systems for syringe-assisted injection and input/output connection to facilitate adoption of this technology by other researchers.
- Fundamental, cognitive & behavioral neuroscience. Central to fundamental neuroscience are computational principles of neural network, connectivity and plasticity of large-scale neuron ensembles, storage and retrieval of information, and long-term evolution of neural dynamics underlying cognition and behavior. We are carrying out long-term electrophysiological recordings focused on fast single-neuron firing activities, inter-neuronal communications, large-scale brain region orchestration with slow-wave modulation, along with guided migration of neural progenitor cells during neurogenesis in rodent and primate studies of visual perception, motor execution, spatial memory and contextual learning.
- Aging and disease. We are seeking translational opportunities to delay/reverse the normal aging process and treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. We are exploring syringe-injectable mesh electronics to precisely deliver electrotherapeutic stimulation to ameliorate abnormal neural oscillation, enhance single-neuron activity, selectively promote long-term potentiation and depression, and facilitate neural progenitor cell migration and integration during neurogenesis. We are exploring this opportunity in preclinical rodent and primate models with the goal of clinical human studies with collaborators.
- Other CNS/PNS regions. We are also using syringe-injectable mesh electronics for studies in a variety of other CNS/PNS regions, including recording and stimulation of the retina, spinal cord, neuromuscular junctions, which are extremely difficult, if possible, to access using conventional rigid electronics. Interrogation and modulation of these regions will expand our knowledge of behavior-related perceptive and executive functions of the nervous system, while at the same time allowing the development of new neural prosthetics that will enable effective intervention to augment cognitive/sensorimotor functions and treat related diseases in these CNS/PNS regions.
- M. Fu, G. Hong, T. Zhou, T. Schuhmann, R. Viveros and C.M. Lieber, “Stable long-term chronic brain mapping at the single neuron level,” Nat. Methods 13, 875-882 (2016). [supplementary info]
- Xie, J. Liu, T.-M. Fu, X. Dai, W. Zhou and C.M. Lieber, “Three-dimensional macroporous nanoelectronic networks as minimally invasive brain probes,” Nat. Mater. 14, 1286-1292 (2015). [supplementary info]
- Hong, T.-M. Fu, T. Zhou, T. Schuhmann, J. Huang and C.M. Lieber, “Syringe injectable electronics: Precise targeted delivery with quantitative input/output connectivity,” Nano Lett. 15, 6979-6984 (2015). [supplementary info]
- Liu, T.-M. Fu, Z. Cheng, G. Hong, T. Zhou, L. Jin, M. Duvvuri, Z. Jiang, P. Kruskal, C. Xie, Z. Suo, Y. Fang and C.M. Lieber, “Syringe-injectable electronics,” Nat. Nanotechnol. 10, 629-636 (2015). [supplementary info]
- Kruskal, Z. Jiang, T. Gao and C.M. Lieber, “Beyond the patch clamp: Nanotechnologies for intracellular recording,” Neuron 86, 21-24 (2015). [download pdf]