Nano for N^3 workshop announcement

Paul Rissman rissman at
Tue Nov 18 10:49:32 PST 2008

Workshop Title  - Nanotechnology as an Enabler 
for Neuroscience, Neuroengineering and Neural Prostheses (Nano for N^3)
When - Thursday, December 11, 2008 (8 AM - 6 PM), 
Friday, December 12, 2008 (8 AM - 1 PM)
Where - Stanford University, Allen Center for 
Integrated Systems, Cypress conference room (CISX 101)
Local hotels - Westin Palo Alto -
                    alternatives -
Workshop organizers - Professor Krishna Shenoy 
(shenoy at and Professor Yoshio Nishi (nishi at

Registration -

Goals of the workshop

Neural prostheses aim to help improve the quality 
of life for patients suffering from neurological 
disease and injury. They function by translating 
electrical signals from the brain (e.g., action 
potentials, local field potentials, ECoGs,EEGs) 
into control signals for guiding assistive 
devices. Despite considerable progress in recent 
years, the field actively continues to pursue

(1) increased sensor lifetime and
(2) increased system performance so that the 
anticipated quality-of-life improvements will 
clearly outweigh potential surgical risks.

Despite ongoing efforts in recent years, neither 
sensor lifetime nor system performance have grown 
at a rate necessary to dramatically enable the 
widespread clinical translation of these systems. 
MEMS-based electrode arrays have had functional 
lifetimes of approximately one year without 
substantial improvement. While flexible substrate 
and pharmacological agent delivery through 
micro-fluidic channels appears promising, there 
is considerable interest in understanding what 
nano-structured electrical and/or optical sensors 
which reside at the size scale of neurons (< 1 
um) may enable. Similarly, system performance 
relies on massively parallel measurement of 
neural signals and MEMS based measurement has 
remained at roughly 100-200 neurons for the past 
decade. There is considerable interest in 
understanding what massively parallel, 
nano-structured electrical and/or optical sensors 
­ which could provide both the high-density 
measurements within one brain/neural area, and 
measurement from multiple brain areas separated 
by many centimeters ­ may provide.  Advances in 
both of these areas are crucial for the sustained 
advancement of both basic systems neuroscience ­ 
which aims to provide fundamental scientific 
understanding of complex nervous systems, and may 
generate biologically-inspired computational 
principles for next generation electronic 
computational architectures - as well as more 
applied neuroengineering, which aims to build core technology.

The major goals of the workshop are:
- To build bridges and promote collaborations 
between the neuroscience, neuroengineering, 
neural prosthesis and nanotechnology/sensor communities.
- To identify limitations in current 
neural-measurement technologies and critical 
needs for basic neuroscience, neuroengineering, and clinical neural prostheses.
- To identify potential solutions to these needs 
based on recent progress in nano- and micro-technology.
- To identify how NNIN can best leverage its 
tools, user base and staff expertise to enable these goals.

Tentative agenda

Thursday, December 11, 2008

8:30 AM - opening remarks, Professor Yoshio 
Nishi, Stanford, Professor Krishna Shenoy, Stanford
9:00 AM - Professor William Newsome, Stanford 
University - "The Need for Measuring/Perturbing 
Neural Activity for Basic Neuroscience and Prostheses"
9:30 AM - Professor Jose Carmena, UC Berkeley - title TBD
10:00 AM - Professor Daryl Kipke, University of Michigan - title TBD
10:30 AM - break
11:00 AM - Professor Florian Solzbacher, 
University of Utah - "Next Generation Neural 
Interfaces - Bridging the Gap Between Engineering and Healthcare"
11:30 AM - Professor Wentai Liu, UC Santa Cruz - title TBD
12 noon - lunch
1:00 PM - Professor Mark Wrightman, UNC - 
"Monitoring Chemical Neurotransmission and Single Unit Activity Simultaneously"
1:30 PM - Professor Paul Garris, Illinois State 
University - "Toward a Smart Deep Brain 
Stimulator with Chemical Sensing Feedback for Control"
2:00 PM -  Professor Daniel Palanker, Stanford 
University - "Optoelectronic Retinal Prosthesis 
for Restoring Sight to the Blind"
2:30 PM - Professor Ellis Meng, USC - "Hybrid 
Neural Interfaces and Implantable Drug Delivery Systems Enabled by BioMEMS"
3:00 PM - Professor Edward Keefer, UT Southwestern - title TBD
3:30 PM - break
4:00 PM - Professor Bruce Wheeler, University 
Illinois, Urbana Champaign - "Brain on a Chip: 
Progress in its Design and Construction"
4:30 PM - Dr. Vijendra Sahi, Nanosys Inc. - title TBD
5:00 PM - Professor Mark Schnitzer, Stanford University - title TBD
5:30 PM - Professor Karl Deisseroth, Stanford 
University - "Optogenetics: Development and Application"

Friday December 12, 2008

8:30 AM - Breakout group discussion - "Neuro-Nano Needs and Opportunities"
10:30 AM - break
11:00 AM - Breakout group overview - "Neuro-Nano Needs and Opportunities"
12 noon - closing remarks

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