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Title: Hybridizing Cellular and Behavioral Neurobiology with Modern Engineering Tools: Microelectronics, Microfabricated Devices, and Software Solutions for Physiology
Authors: Lott, Gus III
Keywords: nanobiotechnology
Issue Date: 30-Apr-2007
Abstract: Trained as an electrical engineer and physicist, I have learned the language of the modern neurobiologist and analyzed the state of experimental metrology (measurement tools) and laboratory based undergraduate education in the field (Neurobiology & Behavior). As a result of this examination, I develop solutions that offer a new kind of resolution and accessibility to physiological preparations from the sub-cellular to organismal level. My goal is to create an instrumentation toolset that trivializes the solutions to many of the current questions in neurophysiology and enable the experimenter to access higher resolution and new kinds of data about a system. My goal is to allow for new kinds of questions to be asked and answered. This represents the essence of mission of biophysics: Bringing the tools and methods of modern physics to revolutionize studies of biological systems. I present three distinct projects which illustrate my findings. These projects bring the majority of modern electrical engineering tools and methods to focus on physiological questions in neural systems. The first project illustrates how a time critical microcontroller driven data acquisition and instrumentation system revolutionizes behavioral analysis in model organisms. The second projects brings the tools of the worlds foremost biophysical nanotechnology center (Cornell?s Nanobiotechnology Center, NBTC) to the design of a new kind of polymer substrate microelectrode structure capable of implantation and extracellular recording from sub-millimeter processes in intact animals. The third project describes a software data acquisition and analysis program capable of acquiring data and analyzing events in a variety of useful ways. These projects should be viewed as responses to questions about the method, itself, of making observations and analysis in neurophysiological research and education environments. These projects describe tools that are currently being applied at a variety of institutions including several affiliates of Cornell to produce dramatic results. It is my goal to bring the experimental mind of yesterday?s behavioral and cellular neurobiologist into the realm of today?s biophysical engineering tools.
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