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Biomedical Engineering Faculty Candidate Seminar
Traci Yu, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Michigan Technological University
Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that typically affects movement. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective device-based therapy for PD in the clinic. DBS applies an embedded electrode into a specific region in the brain and delivers electrode impulse through a battery-powered stimulator subcutaneously implanted in the patient’s chest. The therapeutic effects of DBS are strongly dependent on the stimulation frequency. High frequency DBS alleviates PD motor symptoms, while the low frequency is ineffective. However, due to its non-selectivity of stimulation, high frequency DBS can cause adverse side effects. It also consumes more energy and causes frequent surgical replacement of stimulator battery in patients. Optogenetics takes advantages of cell-type specific manipulation of targeted neural elements and can overcome the challenges of nonselective modulation of DBS. In recent years, optogenetics has been applied to patients with blindness effectively and safely in clinical research. However, the application of the optogenetic device for PD treatment has not yet established. The goal of my research is to develop and optimize optogenetic brain stimulation (OBS) device to treat PD. Specifically, 1) We designed a novel cell-type specific opsin expressed in an animal model of PD and established OBS device that relieves the adverse side effects of DBS. 2) We developed a model-based computational evolution approach and optimized the temporal patterns of stimulation to improve the efficacy and efficiency of OBS device with less energy consumption. Based on our studies, we have three novel and potential OBS devices in shape for future clinic application. These devices will have significant impacts on clinic PD treatment with further development and optimization.
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