Biophysical Neuromodulation: An Integrative Approach




Bush, Joshua

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The brain remains the key to our experiential reality. From sensory perception to an internal expanse the brain remains the hardware and processing unit. The age in which we can precisely alter the hardware with which we process and create experience is dawning. From the advent of optogenetics to the developing use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we are rapidly expanding our control over our brains. It is essential that the evolution of our understanding of the brain maintains a reasonable pace with the technological breakthroughs and human urgency. In this pursuit, we explore the emerging methods for biophysical neuromodulation and the materials through which these methods can be enhanced and/or used to develop translational in vitro models. The methods involved encompass thermal, electrical, magnetic, optical, and ultrasonic modulation of neurons and neuronal networks. A variety of materials such as conductive polymers, graphene, and optoelectronic semi-conductors have been utilized to harness these physical stimuli in the study of neuromodulation. Materials continue to emerge with greater precision and control over the matrix mechanical properties, conductivity, ligand densities, and nano-architecture. With environmental control, real-time physical neuromodulation, and evolving multiplexed sensing capabilities, the rate at which we can further our comprehensive understanding of neuronal information encoding expands rapidly. This review aims to provide a cohesive overview of the maturing coupling between biomaterials and biophysical neuromodulation.



Neural Engineering, Biophysics