Neurosurgery, Neurology and Biomedical Engineering
Interests of the Translational Neuroengineering Research Lab (Robert E. Gross, MD, PhD, Director): Neuromodulation using multielecrode arrays, closed loop control theory, and optogenetics for epilepsy and movement disorders. Computational modeling of epilepsy networks for model-based and non-model based feedback control of optogenetic and electrical neuromodulation. Neurorestoration using gene and cell-therapy based approaches for degenerative and injury conditions.
The Translational Neuroengineering Research Lab (http://neurosurgery.emory.edu/research/translational-neuro-engineering/index.html) uses neuromodulation for epilepsy using a combination of the following advanced techniques: 1) Multimicroelectrode electrical stimulation using novel parameters informed by optimization of input/output relationships (both model- and non-model based MIMO) using closed-loop control theory including adaptive learning and machine learning approaches; 2) Optogenetic activation and inhibition using all forms of available channels including step-function opsins. These approaches identify novel brain regions that have more widespread control and targets specific cell types for activation and inhibiton. Closed loop control using multielecrode arrays informs and controls neuromodulation. 3) Hardware independent ‘luminopsins’: novel gene therapy approaches combining bioluminescent proteins with optogenetic channels for hardware independent, widespread and activity-regulatable neuromodulation. We use a combination of in vitro models, animal models (mouse, rat, non-human primate) and human patients undergoing epilepsy and deep brain stimulation surgery as our experimental models.
In addition, the laboratory has developed novel gene therapy vectors for neurorestoration targeting key pivotal proteins regulating axon outgrowth in regenerative situations, including for Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and retinal degeneration.