Science on Tap to feature role of implantable devices for innovative medical treatment

February 18, 2013  

Pedro Irazoqui

Pedro Irazoqui 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The role that implantable networks of wireless nanoelectronic devices can play in enabling and advancing medical treatment is the focus of Purdue University's Science on Tap lecture this week.

Pedro P. Irazoqui, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering and director of Purdue's Center for Implantable Devices, will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 20) as part of the informal lecture series.

The event, which is free and open to those 21 and older, is in the upstairs of the Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette.

The talk, titled "Implantable Networks of Wireless Nanoelectronic Devices,"
is sponsored by the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the College of Engineering and Discovery Park.

"My talk will highlight efforts within the Center for Implantable Devices for enabling multi-pathology treatment through networks of nanoscale wireless sensors and actuators," said Irazoqui, who also is the associate head for research in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. "From its inception, our Purdue center has focused on the broader problem of interfacing implantable microelectronics with biological systems."

Irazoqui said wireless implantable devices are being developed for a wide range of applications including monitoring and suppression of epileptic seizure and prosthesis control for injured military personnel. Other potential uses include modulation of cardiac arrhythmias; treatment of depression and gastroparesis, a partial paralysis of the stomach; and monitoring intraocular pressure and therapeutic intervention for glaucoma, he said.

Irazoqui and his research team are working with the Nano-Engineered Electronic Device Simulation (NEEDS), a project led by Mark Lundstrom, the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue.

Other partners are the Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine neurosurgical practice, and the Indiana University School of Medicine.

"The key enabling technologies come from nanotechnology," Irazoqui said. "Access to them comes from our partnership with NEEDS. The clinical impact, which is the overarching goal, happens as a result of our partnership with the hospitals in Indianapolis." 

NEEDs received a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation in 2013 to advance nanoelectronic and nano-bioengineering while using the Purdue-led nanoHUB infrastructure to engage a global community.

With assistance from other Purdue researchers, the Jackson Laboratory and others, Irazoqui and his team are designing custom application-specific integrated circuits. They then add microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) transducers, radio frequency (RF) hardware and advanced packaging techniques aimed at devices offering system-level solutions to clinical problems in epilepsy, Parkinson's, alcoholism, glaucoma and chronic neural interfaces.

"Those solutions are then translated into human clinical use and simultaneously and subsequently into private industry," Irazoqui said.

Irazoqui received his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of New Hampshire and his doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles

Science on Tap, now led by graduate students David Welkie, Anju Karki and Nelda Vazquez, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations that are designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the monthly event has averaged 80 during the program's first four years. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, 

Sources: Pedro Irazoqui, 765-586-3360,

David Welkie, 765-494-0560,

Nelda Vazquez, 765-496-1487,  

Anju Karki, 765-494-0455,

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