Texas MRC Research Projects

 

We propose to employ near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technology to continually map hemorrhagic contusions on the surface of the brain after traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is a novel approach for monitoring the evolution of contusions, while validating results with computed tomography (CT). In contrast to CT that can only be performed infrequently, NIRS will enable the continual bedside monitoring of contusion evolution that is of critical clinical importance for life saving interventions. In parallel with our clinical goal, we propose to build and test a NIRS imaging instrument prototype that is designed to overcome current commercial technology limitations and have the capacity to alert clinical staff in real time when contusions grow rapidly. This technology is foreseen to be of immediate interest to the military, sports medicine personnel and clinicians across all trauma ICU facilities.


Georgios Alexandrakis, Ph.D. UTA
Associate Professor – Bioengineering
galex@uta.edu//817.272.3496//Biography

Co-PIs:
Duncan L. MacFarlane, Ph.D. UTD
David C. Smith, M.D. THR

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The breadth of treatments involving electrical stimulation of neural tissue is expanding.  However, major issues remain unresolved in terms of the selectivity and safety of neural electrodes, particularly as most clinical application demand chronic recording/stimulation.  We have demonstrated that peripheral nerves could be interfaced by enticing them to grow in close proximity to electrodes placed in a tridimensional open regenerative multielectrode interface, and that coating commercial electrodes with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can dramatically enhance the electrical properties of the interface.

Principal Investigator:

Mario Romero-Ortega, Ph.D. UTA
Associate Professor-Bioengineering
mromero@uta.edu // (817) 272-5018 // Biography (more…)

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The purpose of this project is to develop and market a glass-based Neuro-Sensor as a high throughput drug discovery tool. This transparent device directs the growth of nerve cell projections (i.e., axons or dendrites) through mesa-scale microfluidic channels. Electrical impedance sensors through microelectrodes will be incorporated into the device to monitor and quantify the biological response of axon growth when neurons are exposed to a variety of chemicals.  The Neuro-Sensor here proposed has many dramatic advantages over traditional assays such as simple operation, rapid detection, long-term stability of chemically inert substrates, low cost, and high sensitivity. The product will not only be applicable to nerve regeneration research, but also to many micro-level cellular experimental applications including cell migration, wound healing and blood flow.

Principal Investigator:

Richard Billo, Ph.D., UTA
Professor-College of Engineering, Associate Dean of Engineering for Research-College of Engineering
richard.billo@uta.edu // (817) 272-2708 // Biography (more…)

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Approximately one in four epilepsy patients suffer with seizures that cannot be controlled through medication or surgery. In addition to the direct effects of these seizures, their seeming unpredictability causes further loss in quality of life and increased health risk for these patients. The transition from inter-ictal to ictal state is not an abrupt transition. Rather, the pre-ictal state (a timeframe just prior to seizure onset) can last minutes to hours. Further, a number of physiological changes may be observed during this period, although the types and intensities of those changes vary from patient to patient and from one type of seizure to another.

Our proposal is to monitor multiple extra-cranial physiological changes that are known to occur during the pre-ictal period of some seizures. Our twin goals will be to:

(a) Find a set of metrics per patient that provide a clear indication that a seizure is imminent in time to warn the patient/caregiver, and

(b) Use metrics that can be monitored in a non-stigmatizing way.

Achieving these goals will require the use of machine learning (classification) to build a personalized pre-ictal footprint for each patient, and selection of metrics that can be monitored in a non-stigmatizing way. We plan to use sensors mounted on a wristband to achieve this second goal.

Principal Investigator:

Mehrdad Nourani, Ph.D UTD
Associate Professor-Electrical Engineering
Mehrdad.Nourani@utdallas.edu // (972) 883-4391 // Biography (more…)

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We propose to build and test an imaging instrument prototype that uses near‐infrared light to map changes in blood oxygenation on the surface of the brain after traumatic brain injury (TBI) has occurred. This instrument will address the immediate clinical need for a non‐invasive technology capable of alerting the attending clinical staff when a rising intracranial fluid pressure event has occurred after TBI. These events can occur rapidly and unexpectedly at anytime up to a few days post‐trauma. The rising pressure events result in the collapse of blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain, which often leads to permanent brain damage or death. The current standard of care is a very invasive procedure that involves placing a pressure transducer through a catheter inside the brain, which is very traumatic and has been shown to result in increased morbidity. (more…)

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Mental health is one of the major health issues costing more than $57B annually. Depressive disorder is a major disease of psychiatric disorders. For those patients who failed current behavioral and pharmacological treatment, one option is the deep brain stimulation. The objective of this proposal is to develop an implantable wireless close-loop feedback system that enables the detection of neural signals in the targeted brain site(s) and use these neural signals to trigger electrical stimulation for depression management. Electrical stimulation of neural substrates will increase the set of neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine) that are determinants for mood. The final goal of the project is to design an implantable system that can be used for clinical treatment of depression. (more…)

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We propose to advance the state of the art in functional near infrared (fNIR) brain imaging and make a routine clinical tool grade system to help guide treatment decisions in children with cerebral palsy (CP). CP is the most common motor deficit in children. It profoundly affects a child’s ability to develop age-typical motor skills and to engage fully in play, exploration and self-help activities. Currently, physicians have no easy way of monitoring functional activity in children with CP and as a result there is little intuition into how each individual child could be helped. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) requires the patients’ complete body confinement and steadiness for a long period of time. Due to this stringent requirement, fMRI has ~50% success rate in normal children and is likely to have substantially lower success rates in children with CP due to the patients’ involuntary movements.

(more…)

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We designed and implemented a proof-of-concept prototype by which cerebrospinal ventricular shunt monitoring for blockage becomes a reality. Our platform does not interfere with the normal operation of the shunt and can be easily adopted by almost any of the shunts in the market. Our proposed system uses flexible MEMS flow sensors with embedded computation and a short-range wireless transceiver.

 

(more…)

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