Pan European Networks: Science & Technology
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PROFILE
Professor Jens Schouenborg
Lund University
Neuronano Research Center
BMC F10, Sölvegatan 19
221 84 Lund
Sweden
tel: +46 46222 7752
methods for data compression and encoding, allowing large
amount of information to be transmitted. Considerable efforts on
development and research on database and software are also
done at NRC to enable efficient and on-line data analysis from the
huge amount of data that is collected from our neural interfaces.
The strategic importance of developing a new generation of
biocompatible electrodes has been recognised globally by major
research organisations and industry. On the research side, the
large opportunities for breakthroughs lie in the possibilities of the
new technique to understand fundamental brain functions such
as learning and memory.With NRC electrodes it will be possible
to interact with numerous individual neurons over long time
periods with a previously unsurpassed spatial and temporal
resolution in fully conscious, freely moving animals and
individuals. This will revolutionise the research on e.g. memory
and learning and other cognitive functions by enabling studies of
fundamental functions during natural conditions. The novel
insights in how the brain stores and recalls memories will have
implications far beyond the laboratory bench; e.g. for teaching
and for our views on witness statements.
Importantly, connecting long-term reliable electrodes between the
brain and computers, machines or robotic devices in the outside
world is certain to offer novel therapies. Such therapies include
repairing lost connections after stroke, restoring motor control
after injury or degenerative diseases by connecting the motor
cortex to a robotic prosthesis, or addressing chronic pain
conditions, depression, insomnia, epilepsy and the treatment of
other neurodegenerative diseases. To this end, NRC is currently
developing a new generation of multichannel electrodes for
clinical use that offers improved biocompatibility, increased
specificity and reduced side effects. As this enterprise involves
humans, a number of ethical issues connected to respect for the
individual and his or her integrity, authenticity, the balance
between benefits and risks, the balance between individual and
common interests, and other questions of justice, ethicists
working within NRC are studying the ethical consequences of the
use of neural interfaces in humans, with focus on identification
and analysis of ethical questions and dilemmas in relation to new
options for curing or mitigating handicaps and diseases.
The Neuronano Research Center
NRC was founded in 2006 and is sponsored by the Swedish
Research Council (VR) and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg
Foundation and is one of the Linnaeus centres (excellence
centres receiving ten-year grants) at Lund University (LU). The
long-term goal of NRC is to develop electrodes for groundbreaking
neurophysiological research on memory and learning and to
develop new animal models for monitoring brain disease
progress. Our vision is to improve quality of life for disabled
people and individuals with neurodegenerative disease by
listening to, understanding and talking to the nervous system by
means of a neural interface.
NRC has access to a unique arsenal of cutting edge technologies
and research expertise covering micro and nanotechnology
allowing the development of advanced designs of highly flexible
electrodes. Experts in signal processing, telemetry systems;
biomaterial;
in vitro
and
in vivo
neurophysiology; nociceptive and
spinal systems physiology; motor control including cerebellar and
striatal processing, and biocompatibility for functionality and
safety aspects work in close collaboration within NRC to develop
new electrodes. In addition, clinical researchers are involved in the
development of the new electrodes in the fields of chronic pain,
depression and motor disorders. Since the start in 2006, NRC has
grown with the addition of researchers with competence in
biomaterials, organic chemistry, neuronanatomy and
pharmacology as well as in the clinical research fields of
depression, epilepsy and pain.
NRC is a partner in the Nanometer Structure Consortium at LU
(nmC@LU) and an associated member of MultiPark, LU, both of which
recently received large strategic VR grants.This gives NRC unique and
excellent contacts with other world leading research groups at LU.
In 2012 the Linneaus centres in Sweden underwent a five-year
evaluation by an international panel on behalf of the Swedish
Research Council. The Neuronano Research Center was
considered outstanding, resulting in the largest increase in
funding of all Swedish Linnaeus centres.
New generation of ultra-thin electrodes for deep brain stimulation,
inserted and fanned out in brain tissue
NEURODEGENERATIVE RESEARCH
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