With its genetic precision and millisecond resolution, optogenetics is now an indispensable technique in the neuroscience allowing for identification of electrophysiological contributions of specific cell types to observed behaviors. However, despite the rapid development of the molecular tools, there remains a need for reliable electronic devices capable of practical use of optogenetics. In this presentation, I will introduce the diverse bioelectrical applications of optogenetics we developed, from optoelectronic neural devices to optical tissue engineering. First, we fabricated a fiber-based neural probes integrating diverse modalities within a single platform using thermal drawing process (TDP). All-polymer or hydrogel integrated probes with optical, electrical, and fluidic capabilities were developed all within the 100 μm diameter, which allowed one-step surgery to the mouse brain and spinal cord for optogenetic experiments. These flexible and biocompatible probes enabled the long-term recording of single-unit action potentials with optical stimulation and injection of pharmacological agents during free behavior. In addition to that, optogenetics were also applied to the tissue engineering. We explored optogenetics as a means to promote nerve growth and investigated a broad range of optical parameters to identify optimal conditions. Furthermore, we developed the fiber-based neural scaffold for nerve regeneration with TDP that allowed for applying biocompatible materials to fabricate hollow nerve guidance channels. The combination of these techniques is expected to develop to the next-generation neural interfaces including bioelectronic medicine and optical neural prostheses.
Seongjun Park received B.S. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Seoul National University in 2013, M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) in 2015, and Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2018. He is now working as a postdoctoral associate in Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT under the supervision of Prof. Polina Anikeeva. His research interests include the development of fiber-based flexible optoelectronic neural probes and multifunctional scaffolds for optogenetic tissue engineering. He is the recipient of Korean government scholarship (M.S.) and Samsung scholarship (Ph.D.). He is also awarded Helen Carr Peake Research Prize, MRS gold award, Regeneron Finalist Prize and many others including GRC and UKC best poster award