Professor in Residence, Ophthalmology and Physiology
Membership effective July 2005
Development of novel micro and nanotechnology platforms for neural repair.
Nerve injury is a cause of significant disability that has serious social and economic impact for society. The long thin axonal extensions of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, when damaged, are not capable of regeneration to reconsitutute neural function. We are exploring a novel paradigm using micron-scaled devices with nanoscale functional features, to surgically repair individual damaged axons. Devices under development include a self-actuated nanocutting device that is highly effective in isolating small biological tissues such as axons at the micron length scale, as well as micro and nanofabricated addressable electrode arrays for the precise non-contact and programmable manipulation of axonal extensions. Substantial effort is also underway to integrate multiple capabilities required for axon surgery onto a single semi-robotic device 1 mm3 or less in size. Additional areas of interest include optical systems suitable for on-board microdevice use, and user interfaces that will allow efficient scaling of surgical operations from the macro into the micro world. Our overall goal is to develop a suite of novel surgical tools that will address an unmet medical need by enabling human operation and repair at the micron length scale of axons.
W. Chang, E. Hawkes, C. Keller, and D. Sretavan. Axon Repair: Surgical Applications At A Subcellular Scale. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. 2010 Jan 25. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 20101712
W. Chang, and D. Sretavan. Single cell and neural process experimentation using laterally applied electrical fields between pairs of closely apposed microelectrodes with vertical sidewalls. Biosensors and Bioelectronics 24:3600-3607, 2009. PMID: 19535240.