Doctoral candidate Diqing Su, and doctoral student Renata Saha won best poster awards at the IEM (Institute for Engineering in Medicine) Annual Retreat.
Diqing’s poster is titled “Large-Scale, High-Resolution Brain Sensing and Stimulation with Flexible Magnetic Nanosensors and Nanostimulators,” and was showcased in the Neural category.
The poster demonstrates the use of magnetic tunnel junctions as magnetic nanosensors for neuron signal detection. As magnetic fields are less impacted by the surrounding neuron cells as compared to electric fields or current, these magnetic nanosensors hold the potential of large-scale, high-resolution detection of neuron signals. The nanosensors can be integrated with magnetic neuron stimulators on flexible substrates using microfabrication techniques.
Diqing has been the recipient of several awards including the best poster award at the 2017 MMM Conference, and Outstanding TA award two years in a row. Her research interest is in developing magnetic nanosensors for biological applications, and she is working under the guidance of Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Jian Ping Wang.
Renata Saha, a doctoral student in ECE, won the best poster award and was placed first within the Neural category. Her poster is titled, “Highly Tunable, Ultra-Low Power, Cellular-Level, Magnetic Neurostimulation through Flexible Spintronic Nanostructures.”
One of the reasons micromagnetic stimulation has an edge over deep brain stimulation (DBS) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is that a magnetic field has higher permeability through biological tissues. However, micromagnetic stimulation reportedly consumes 103 times more power than conventional DBS electrodes, which can have a detrimental effect on tissues. In her poster, Renata provides proof-of-concept that magnetic materials from modern-age computer hard-disk drives can be used as next-generation implantable magnetic neurostimulators. These devices, known as spintronic nanodevices, being nanometer sized can activate neurons with cellular resolutions and can be fabricated onto flexible biocompatible substrates.
Renata, a recipient of a 3-year College of Science and Engineering fellowship, recently received the Brain Tumor Program travel grant from the University’s Masonic Center to share her work titled, “A Highly Tunable Skyrmion-based Neurostimulator (SkyNS) for Low-Power Cellular-Level Implantable Magnetic Stimulation” at the Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM 2019) to be held in Las Vegas in November.