Symposium SB08—Advanced Neural Materials and Devices
The convergence of biomaterials and electronic devices provides an intellectual landscape that spans a variety of disciplines including materials science and engineering, physics, chemistry, polymer sciences, and medicine. The potential impact of applications described in this symposium would be of interest to a broad audience of scientists in the previously listed disciplines. There is also growing interest in the interface of biomaterials and nervous system from professionals in human health, biomedical engineering, and neuroscience. Neural prostheses are devices that are implanted into the nervous system for bidirectional communication (recording from and stimulation of neural tissue) to treat or assist people with disabilities of neural function. There have been several major advances in neural interface technologies during past couple of years, however, the engineering of stable and reliable electronic-neural tissue interface is essential for long-term functionality of these implants. The quality of signal transduction between the electrodes and neurons depends on physical and chemical properties of the electrode-tissue interface that ultimately relies on the specifics of the material design that enables a long-term stable and functional interface. The challenge for materials science is to design and develop advanced multifunctional biomaterials to safely integrate with neural tissue with minimal biological response. Substrates and electrode materials must meet strict electrochemical requirements such as long-term stability, biocompatibility, and resistance to corrosion in physiological environment. Furthermore, the implant materials should match the mechanical properties of surrounding tissue to prevent injury due to micromotion and allow for adequate exchange of nutrients and waste so that the surrounding tissue remain healthy. This symposium will focus on the latest advances in biomaterials to control/engineer neuron-electronic interfaces to produce stable and functional implants with greater longevity than what is possible today. Session topics will spotlight the latest efforts to achieve the most effective and safest strategies to communicate with neurons.