Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2021
Home Department: Applied Physics
Faculty Advisors: Guosong Hong (Materials Science & Engineering) and Paul Nuyujukian (Bioengineering and Neurosurgery)

Research Title: Breaking the Spatial Limitation of Electrical Microstimulation by Electromagnetic Field Focusing

Research Description: While electrical stimulation is a powerful tool for probing neural correlates of cognition and treating neurological diseases, it is challenging to contain the stimulating field to small volumes of the brain, let alone single neurons. Here, Nicholas proposes a technique for single-neuron electrical stimulation relying on the “lightning-rod effect” of metallic nanowires in an electric field. Nanowires can enhance an electric field by 1-2 orders of magnitude within close proximity of their tips, enabling spatially-restricted stimulation with sub-threshold current injection. Nicholas envisions that this technique will enable single-neuron manipulation in non-human primates and humans and offer more precise clinical treatments.