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2022 News

NIH Grant Awarded for Early-Stage Neuromodulation Research

August 31st, 2022

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Iurii Semenov with colleagues Allen Kiester, Joel Bixler and Bennett Ibey from the Air Force Research Laboratory during the installation of a strobe microscopy system at the Center in 2021

Dr. Andrei Pakhomov was awarded a 3-year, $640,000 R21 grant "Targeted Neuromodulation by Nanosecond Pulsed Electric Fields." This project is part of NIH Brain Initiative program and will generate new basic knowledge of neuronal function, including nanosecond-scale biophysics of the cell membrane and ion channels.

Nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF) is a new modality for neuromodulation, with unique capabilities. Potential benefits of nsPEF include prolonged stimulation with little or no electrochemical side effects; excitation at lower thresholds; choosing between stimulation, inhibition, and ablation; and achieving these effects non-invasively, either for outpatient deep brain stimulation or for brain tumor ablation.

Dr. Pakhomov's team will utilize strobe pulsed laser microscopy to monitor the membrane potential in neurons with ~50-ns time resolution. This unique method will identify fine mechanisms and principles how nanosecond-duration electric stimuli excite and inhibit neurons. This new knowledge will guide the design of interference targeting protocols to achieve desired neuromodulation selectively at a distance from stimulating electrodes.

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