For applications related to the monitoring and stimulation of the activity of the central and peripheral nervous system
Towards in vivo evaluation of MEA device with graphene-based electrodes for retinal prosthesis
The long-term goal of the GraphRetina project is to produce a new generation of retinal prosthesis for patients with retinal degeneration with a higher quality and more useful visual experience compared to that achieved by current artificial vision technology.
The short-term objective is to advance in the exploration of novel methodologies to improve focal stimulation with graphene-based electrodes and to generate the first prototype of the retinal microelectrode Array (MEA) that can be implanted into an animal model as a proof of concept (PoC) of our long-term vision.
The scientific and technology goals of this project are:
- Optimization of in vivo gene transfection, retina excision and retina preparation.
- Improvement of focal stimulation with microelectrodes.
- Integration of electronics for multichannel stimulation and recording.
- Design and fabrication of a PoC flexible MEA device with graphene-based electrodes.
- In vivo assessment of implants in a large animal model, monitoring the mechanical stability of the device in the eye and its interaction with the neural tissue.
Prof. Jose A. Garrido is one of the pioneers in the use of graphene for neural interfaces applications. He has more than 141 publications, 78 invited presentations (including keynotes), and has participated in more than 27 projects as Principal Investigator.
It is important to highlight the coordination of the BrainCom EU FET proactive project focused on the development of a new generation of neuroprosthetic devices for brain mapping, and his participation from 2016 to 2020 as the Deputy of the Work Package 5 related to Biomedical Technologies of the EU Graphene Flagship. Garrido is also coordinating the i-VISION project, funded by La Caixa Foundation.
Currently, Jose A Garrido is Chief Scientific Officer of INBRAIN Neuroelectronics, a spin-off of ICN2 which aims at the commercialization of graphene-based neural devices for medical applications.
Contributions from partners
Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)
Jose A. Garrido
ICN2 is involved in the fabrication of graphene-based MEAs to improve focal stimulation (by engineering electrode design, 3D shape, etc.) and explore different stimulation protocols.
ICN2 is working closely with Barraquer and IFAE to design and implement an MEA that can be implanted within the eye of a minipig, while balancing the design constraints of array size, flexibility, stability and surgical feasibility.
The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)
Led by ICFO, all partners will continue to assess retinal electrical stimulation strategies and electrode configurations using the calcium imaging platform developed by the consortium.
ICFO will work closely with Barraquer to setup protocols for in vivo optical imaging of the MEA implanted in the minipigs eye, while ICN2 will monitor the electrode/tissue interaction chronically by performing electrode impedance measurements throughout the implantation duration.
ICFO will conduct the histological analyses of the retina after removal of the implant.
Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE)
IFAE will work closely with ICN2 on the development and implementation of the electronics, hardware, firmware, and GUI, to interface with the flexible MEA, and develop solutions to enable simultaneous all-channel electrical recording and digitally controlled multi-channel stimulation through microelectrodes. In the testing phase, IFAE will work closely with both ICN2 and ICFO to optimize the stimulation pulse configuration to obtain robust neural activation using efficient charge injection.
Moreover, they will work on the development of the packaging process for embedding in the eye of mini-pig an ASIC for long term (few months) study, in vivo, the life-time of the embedded devices.
Fundación Barraquer (BARRAQUER)
Barraquer will assess the compatibility of the flexible MEAs with standard surgical protocols and will perform the surgical implantation of the MEAs in the eyes of minipigs.