Polina Anikeeva - Biologically Informed Neurotechnology for Probing Brain-Body Physiology

Event Details:

Thursday, April 18, 2024
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12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT
Event Sponsor
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
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Join the speaker for coffee, cookies, and conversation before the talk, starting at 11:45am.

Biologically Informed Neurotechnology for Probing Brain-Body Physiology


Biological signaling in the mammalian nervous system spans a dizzying range of spatial and temporal scales. To understand how cellular and molecular signals contribute to physiology and behavior and to treat the neurological and psychiatric conditions our group designs tools that mimic biological complexity yet match the physical properties of tissues. By combining polymer engineering, fiber drawing, and solid-state microelectronics we create scalable fiber-based tools that record and modulate cell signaling in the central and the autonomic nervous systems in behaving rodents. Using these fiber-based tools we reveal the contributions of gut-brain circuits not only to ingestive and metabolic functions but also to high-level behaviors previously attributed exclusively to brain signaling. To probe receptor contributions to neural circuit dynamics, we synthesize magnetic nanotransducers that convert externally applied magnetic fields into thermal, chemical, mechanical, and electrical signals. Since biological tissues exhibit negligible magnetic permeability and low conductivity, magnetic fields can penetrate deep into the body with no attenuation allowing us to apply the nanomagnetic transducers to remotely modulate ion channel function in arbitrarily deep tissues. We employ magnetic neuromodulation to control circuits associate with reward and motivation and extend their applications to relieve motor dysfunction in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease as well as to trigger on-demand release of adrenal hormones in genetically intact rats.


Polina Anikeeva, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Polina Anikeeva received her BS in Physics from St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT. She completed her postdoctoral training at Stanford, where she created devices for optical stimulation and recording from brain circuits. She joined MIT faculty in 2011 and is currently Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She serves as the Director of the K. Lisa Yang Brain-Body Center and as an Associate Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and is a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. Anikeeva’s Bioelectronics group focuses on the development of minimally invasive biologically inspired approaches to record and modulate physiology of the nervous system, and especially in the context of brain-body communication. Anikeeva is a recipient of NSF CAREER Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award, the TR35, Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and the NIH Pioneer Award.

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Hosted by - Nick Rommelfanger (The Hong Lab)


About the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Seminar Series

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute seminar series brings together the Stanford neuroscience community to discuss cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond.

Topics include new discoveries in fundamental neurobiology; advances in human and translational neuroscience; insights from computational and theoretical neuroscience; and the development of novel research technologies and neuro-engineering breakthroughs.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held Thursdays at 12:00 noon PT.

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