MIT MechE — Lincoln Labs Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Hydrogel Neural Probe
Currently, tissue engineers are facing challenges when implanting microelectrodes into neural tissue. This is largely because there is a significant mismatch in the Young’s modulus of the metals like silicon (~200 GPa) and that of the soft brain tissue (~10 kPa). Conductive hydrogels are promising because they can improve the biocompatibility of rigid metallic neural electrodes, while retaining their functionality. The aim of this project is to develop the most optimal tough, stretchable, conductive, and biocompatible hydrogels to better match the mechanical and physiological properties of cells and tissues in the brain and spinal cord. These gels will then be coated onto the world’s smallest, Bluetooth enabled neural probe.
Over three summers as an intern at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, TX, I interacted with chronically ill patients and saw the need for novel technologies that transform the way complex health problems are solved. This spurred me to develop a passion for Biomedical Engineering. I am excited to work on this SuperUROP project because it explores the intersections of Tissue Engineering (materials), MechE, and Product Design.