Bikson Lab awarded two NIH grants on Medical Device Design

R21 (2 years): Modulation of blood-brain-barrier (BBB) permeability by tDCS relevant electric fields

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive electrical stimulation technique investigated for a broad range of medical and performance indications. Understanding the cellular mechanisms of tDCS will increase the rigor of ongoing studies and provide a rational basis for dose optimization. Prior mechanistic studies have focused exclusively on direct polarization of neuronal membranes by direct current stimulation (DCS). We propose to test the hypothesis that tDCS directly and transiently modulates blood-brain-barrier (BBB) function, which in turn would modulate neuronal activity. Our approach is to use state-of-the-art animal and tissue models and characterization to determine if a new-class of cellular targets, namely endothelial cells, respond to DCS. These approaches including multi-photon transcranial quantitative imaging of vascular permeability during and after DCS and isolation of molecular and generic responses of endothelial barriers. Because understanding every cellular target of stimulation is required for a comprehensive mechanism, the modulation of BBB by tDCS, in conjunction with direct neuronal effects, is novel and critical to research. This study will be the first to establish the feasibility of direct BBB actions by tDCS as well as quantitatively predict the impact of these changes on neuronal function.

R03 (one year): Wireless Pulse Oximetry (WiPOX) for Diagnosing Intra-Operative Ischemia

Tissue ischemia is a major cause of wound dehiscence or anastomotic leakage
resulting in significant morbidity and mortality and occurs at a rate of 15 to 25%. Although
measurement of systemic blood oxygenation status by pulse oximetry on the finger is a
mandatory requirement for every single patient while in the hospital, there are no devices or
methods available to measure tissue oxygenation following complex surgical resections and
reconstructions in the operating room. Increasingly, surgical procedures are performed by
minimally invasive techniques, which add complexity to the problem, as surgeons do not have
the opportunity to directly touch, feel or visualize the organs. In a collaboration between The
City College of New York (CCNY) bioengineering design team and Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center (MSKCC) surgeons, we have successfully designed, constructed and tested a
novel wireless, handheld intraoperative oximetry (WiPOX) device, which provides real-time,
accurate, and convenient intraoperative monitoring of the tissue oxygenation ensuring tissue
viability thereby improving surgical outcomes, decreasing mortality, patient hospitalization and
the associated costs. In this R03 proposal, based on the feedback from the ongoing clinical trial,
we will enhance device performance and accuracy through two further innovations:
incorporation of onboard pressure sensors to allow reliable tissue contact and enhancement of
S/N through wireless integration with a systemic pulse oximeter. A pipeline for preclinical and
clinical testing is in place. These innovative modifications are crucial for surgeons to take the
next step of this device utility – to modify the surgical procedure based on tissue oxygenation

Neural Engineering