The Penn State Center for Neural Engineering is a university-wide Center, bridging the campuses and Colleges of Engineering and Science at University Park, with the College of Medicine at Hershey. It is housed within facilities of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics.
The Center is positioned to facilitate and enable collaboration between faculty from the Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences, Materials Research, and Neuroscience Institutes at Penn State, and forms a physical conduit for faculty and students from across the Engineering Departments, the Integrative Biosciences Neuroscience Program, Physics, Mathematics, and Biology, as well as trainees and faculty from Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Psychiatry. The Center has resident core faculty, with a considerable number of faculty Affiliates drawn from University Park and Hershey.
The Center enables the successful conduct of interdisciplinary research and acquisition of funding for projects that individual Penn State scientists could not perform on their own.
The Center for Neural Engineering provides the core facilities to:
- Coordinate collaboration between Departments at University Park, and between University Park and Hershey.
- Provide facilities and technical skill to Faculty, Postdoctoral fellows, and Students seeking to work in this area.
- Provide core resources in terms of office space, administrative support, computational facilities, laboratories, and faculty customized for carrying out the missions of NIH sponsored Program Project and Center grants.
- Provide an extensive series of educational forums each week focusing on whole animal physiology, cellular physiology, dynamical neuroscience, biological control engineering, and a campus-wide Neural Engineering Seminar series.
- Develop the intellectual property which will enable Penn State to develop the next generation of smart devices for the clinical treatment of dynamical diseases of the brain, such as Epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, as well as improved neural prosthetics to replace lost function in the disabled.
- Develop novel curricula and teaching laboratories to serve the missions of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, the Department of Neurosurgery and the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program.
- To serve as a center for Junior Faculty development at Hershey. Physician-Scientists recruited at Hershey will have office and laboratory space in the Center for Neural Engineering facilities that will be created in the Life Sciences II Building at University Park, where they will spend one or more days per week enabling them to develop their research programs while simultaneously attending to their clinical responsibilities at Hershey.
- To serve as a center for Senior Faculty development at Hershey. The Center would form a framework that would enable senior clinicians to spend one or more days per week either learning new science and engineering skills, or advancing their ongoing research.
- The Center actively fosters Outreach to youth in Pennsylvania, as well as to improve medicine and engineering in the developing world.
Presently occupying 3000 square feet of customized space in the Earth-Engineering Sciences Building, the Center will move in 2010 to 22,000 square feet in the new Life Sciences II/Material Science Building. Within this space there will be space for individual investigators, but importantly, there will be substantial shared facilities to meet the above needs. Specifically, there will be several different sizes of conference rooms, with video conference capability to facilitate the interaction with Hershey and other investigators. Significant shared facilities will be created for histology, computerized microscopy, animal behavioral monitoring, and computational resources. Offices are planned for six Hershey faculty, MDs and PhDs, to be in residence at any one time. A novel teaching laboratory will serve as a teaching platform to teach the concepts, hardware, and software of Brain-Machine Interface engineering to advanced undergraduate and graduate students within the Engineering College.
We anticipate that this Center will serve as a model and test bed for serious long-term development of bridges between the strengths of University Park and the College of Medicine campuses.
Key developments from 2006-2008 include:
- Established the MD-PhD Track in Engineering Science and Mechanics tailored for the MD-PhD student who seeks to become a Physician-Engineer.
- Establishing the Neural Engineering PhD Track in Engineering Science and Mechanics. Core courses from ESC, EMC, BIO, EE, and new Courses include:
- E SC 497B Brain Machine Interfaces
- E SC 597 Introduction To Neural Engineering: Fundamentals Of Interfacing Wtih Brain
- E SC 597A (pending 529) Neural Control Engineering
- Crosslisted as PHYS 597A
- Establishing the first Brain-Machine Interface Teaching Laboratory in the US, and initiating the first course in this subject (E SC 497B) in the US that we are aware of.
- Established the Controls Group and weekly seminar series seeking to bring together the Controls Engineering expertise on campus around biological applications.
- We have established 16 IRB and IACUC protocols for human and animal experiments in Neural Engineering.
- Established a strong link with Pediatric Neurosurgical colleagues in Mbale, Uganda, with 3 active African IRB protocols seeking to engineer better solutions for image analysis for epilepsy and hydrocephalus, and to seek the bacterial origins of neonatal ventriculitis in that region of rural East Africa.
- Funded Pilot projects include
- Grace Woodward Grant
- ISC-SSRI-Huck seed grant
- Collaborators at PSU include:
- HMC, Vet Sci, Biology, Neurology, Neuroradiology, Neurosurgery
- Organized and funded an NIH Sponsored Conference on the Ethics of Neural Prosthetics at PSU
Ongoing Research Projects
- Dynamics and Control of Pattern Formation in the Brain
- Novel Electrical Field Interface for Neural Prosthetics
- Microlesion Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation
- Model Based Control of Seizures, Rhythms, and Parkinson’s disease activity
- Model Based Brain-Machine Interfaces
- Nano-sensing of the Metabolic Microdomain of Seizures
- Wave Mechanics of Brain Activity
- Computational Modeling of Epileptic Seizures
- Computational Modeling of Brain Rhythmicity
- Novel Electrode Material Construction
- The One-Laptop per ICU Patient Project
- Use of CT as a Substitute for MRI in the evaluation of Epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa
- Segmentation of Bran and Fluid from CT and MRI scans
- DNA Forensics to Identify the Agents Responsible for Neonatal Ventriculitis in East Africa
The facilities in new Life Science II – Material Science Building 3rd floor W will be one of the premier facilities in the world for conducting Neural Engineering on a systems level. The proximity to Materials Sciences gives us unusual opportunity for synergistic work on the properties of the Material Brain. The 22,000 square feet are custom designed for up to 12 faculty including
- Brain Machine Interface teaching and research laboratory
- Electrical equipment construction and testing
- Laser optical imaging suite
- Open space for multiple neurophysiology experimental stations
- Behavioral maze testing
- Confocal microscopy
- Computerized microscopy: Neurolucida and Stereology
- Machine Shop