The nervous system is a soft and dynamic system with complex electrical and molecular signaling, tissue development, and organ motion across broad time scales and physical dimensions. These facts challenge the conventional bio interface design regarding mechanical compatibility and functional versatility. Using unconventional soft materials to engineer electronics will lead to tissue-mimicking, mechanically compliant neural interfaces that can interrogate the center and the peripheral nervous systems with high precision in a minimally invasive way. This presentation will focus on a few recent creations on how soft materials based on polymers and composite lead to more compliant soft neural interfaces: a composite-based elastic neurotransmitter sensor that can achieve multiplex neurotransmitter sensing in the brain and gut, and a polymer-based electromyography interface that provides stable muscle electrical recording for precision rehabilitation. Overall, we believe new neuroengineering tools based on soft materials engineering will enable yet unimagined neuroscience discoveries and applications.
Jinxing Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. He joined MSU as part of the university’s Global Impact Initiative from Stanford University, where he did his postdoctoral research on soft bioelectronics. He received his Ph.D. in NanoEngineering at UC San Diego, with a research focus on medical micro/nanorobotics. He was a visiting scholar working on telemedicine devices in the Artificial Intelligence Research Lab at Bell Labs. He received his B.S. from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and M.S. from Fudan University in China, both in Electrical Engineering. He is a recipient of Siebel Scholar of Bioengineering, Materials Research Society Graduate Student Award, Dan David Prize Scholarship, American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry Young Investigator Award, and MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35.