MEMS & Neuroscience Seminar: Monday June 1st, 4-5 PM, Allen 101X (Wesley Chang, UCSF)

Katherine Tsai kattsai at stanford.edu
Fri May 29 16:16:31 PDT 2009


Please forward widely the following seminar announcement:

Microdevice Technologies for Neuroscience
Wesley Chang, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Programs in Neuroscience and Bioengineering
University of California, San Francisco

Abstract:
Given the broad efforts to develop MEMS technologies for serving biology,
new clinical
and research capabilities are becoming available in specialties such as
neuroscience. In
our own work, we have used novel, MEMS-based microsurgical tools to explore
the
possibility of repairing nerves by directly reconnecting individual axons,
the slender
projections from nerve cells that carry signals throughout the nervous
system. This
capability can only be developed with tools that can operate with
microns-scale precision
and perform numerous tasks within a confined volume and may provide an
important
alternative nerve repair strategy to conventional approaches based on
stimulating
regeneration, which have only seen limited successes. As we continue to
develop MEMS-based
nerve repair as a clinical application, we have also identified another
essential use
for microfabrication technology in support basic research in neuroscience.
By employing
thin film deposition and batch microfabrication methods, we have developed
specialized
cell culture substrates that can be mass-produced with reliable,
high-resolution
micropatterning to provide neuroscientists with well-organized neuron
cultures that can
be arranged into efficient arrays for high-throughput experimentation. While
bioengineers
have demonstrated numerous methods for micropatterning of cell culture over
the years,
our new method is user-friendly and can potentially permit widespread
adoption of cell
micropatterning among biologists and non-engineers. My talk will discuss
both of these
applications of microtechnology to neuroscience.

Bio:
Wesley Chang is a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. David
Sretavan in the
Departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology and Programs in Neuroscience and
Bioengineering at UC San Francisco. He received both his Ph.D. and B.S.
degrees in
Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. Dr. Chang is also a founder of Aperys
LLC, a
new company that develops research tools for neuroscience and biology.
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