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Soft Materials as Neural Interfaces: Brain, Gut, Skin, and Beyond

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Friday, December 8, 2023, 4 pm– 5 pm

This is a past event.

Biomedical Engineering Research Seminar

Jinxing Li, PhD

Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering
Michigan State University


The nervous system is a soft and dynamic system with complex electrical and molecular signaling, tissue development, and organ motion across broad time scales and physical dimensions. These facts challenge conventional bio-interface design regarding mechanical compatibility and functional versatility. Using unconventional soft materials to engineer electronics will lead to tissue-mimicking, mechanically compliant neural interfaces that can interrogate the central and peripheral nervous systems with high precision in a minimally invasive way. This presentation will focus on a few recent creations on how soft materials based on polymers and composites lead to more compliant medical devices: a composite-based elastic neurotransmitter sensor that can achieve multiplex neurotransmitter sensing in the brain and gut, a soft electrode array for more adaptive surface electromyography, and a hydrogel microrobot for adaptive locomotion. Overall, we believe that new medical devices based on soft materials engineering will enable yet unimagined clinical applications and human machine interactions.


Jinxing Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. He joined MSU as part of the university’s Global Impact Initiative from Stanford University, where he did his postdoctoral research on engineering soft materials to make miniaturized devices for biomolecular sensing, neuromodulation, and adaptive locomotion. He received his PhD in NanoEngineering at UC San Diego, where he developed a nanorobotic toolbox and pioneered the therapeutic use of micro/nanorobotics. He was a visiting scholar at Bell Labs working on wearable telemedicine devices. He received his BS from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and MS from Fudan University, both in Electrical Engineering. He has published over 70 publications in the journals Nature, Science, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Science Robotics, Nature Electronics, Nat. Comm., and so on. He is a recipient of Siebel Scholar of Bioengineering, Materials Research Society Graduate Student Award, Dan David Prize Scholarship, American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry Young Investigator Award, MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35, and 30 Rising Leaders in The Life Sciences.

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