Modulating Neuroinflammation with Porous Templated Scaffolds
Neuroelectronic interfaces can restore mobility and independence for patients with neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury, stroke, or limb loss. However, unstable neural recording performance remains unresolved. Via the foreign body reaction, macrophages and glial cells develop a “glial scar” around implants, increasing electrode impedance and leading to time-dependent declines in electrode performance. During the first two years of my PhD, I worked with Dr. Bill Shain to study the brain’s foreign body reaction to a variety of cortical implants, using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy, Optical Coherence Tomography, and post-hoc Immunohistochemistry. After Dr. Shain retired, I joined the labs of Dr. Buddy Ratner and Dr. James Bryers to study the effects of porous hydrogels on the foreign body reaction in the central nervous system, and how they might improve regeneration after spinal cord injury and glial scarring around implanted cortical recording devices. We observed reduced astrocyte encapsulation and increased neuron density around softer, porous hydrogels compared to stiffer, nonporous hydrogels.
- Bioengineering