Embedded Electrodes

Neural interface technologies such as intraspinal microstimulation or deep brain stimulation are reliant on electrodes implanted at the site of stimulation.   Considering this integral nature of the electrode to neural interfaces, it is surprising that, despite current technologies shortcomings, there has been virtually no advance in embedded electrode technology for over a decade.  We intend to change that. One of the shortcomings of existing electrode designs is that they are rigid, yet, the tissue is not.   Project SMART is developing new, flexible-based based micro-electrodes.  We have found that our flexible-based electrode design better matches the mechanical properties of the spine and therefore is less likely to move of shift overtime. We are also developing multi-site micro-electrodes. Similar to deep brain stimulation electrodes, these electrodes have multiple stimulation sites, however, our electrodes are much much smaller and suitable for use in intraspinal microstimulation, or stimulation of other very small anatomical regions of the nervous system. In addition to our novel electrode systems we are also developing new research tools that will greatly aid in neural interface research.  The first if these is the surrogate spinal cord.  This surrogate spinal cord is a synthetic spinal cord that matches the physical and mechanical properties of the human spinal cord and will allow for rapid mechno-compatibility screening of new implant technologies.   Another is a 3D neural cell culture.  2D cell cultures only allow cells to migrate in 2D, however, in tissue cell have the ability to migrate in 3d.  Our 3D cultures will allow us to conduct bio-compatability studies that more closely model the real-world.

Vivian Mushahwar, Ph.D.

An engineer by training (electrical), Dr. Mushahwar obtained her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Utah. Research in the Mushahwar lab focuses on many aspects such as the restoration of standing and walking [...]

Kathryn Todd, Ph.D.

Dr. Todd obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta.  Research in the Todd group is primarily related to cellular mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative and neuropschiatric disorders and the identification of neuroprotective and/or rescue agents.  [...]

Walied Moussa, Ph.D.

Dr. Moussa obtained his Ph.D from the Carlton University.  Dr. Moussa research interests are related to advanced modeling techniques for the study material properties and behaviors.   In collaboration with the Elias group, the Moussa lab [...]

Anastasia Elias, Ph.D.

Dr. Elias completed her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta.  Research in the Elias group is focused on the development of ‘smart’ materials – materials that respond to external stimuli such as light, heat or [...]