Prof. Duco Jansen

Duco JansenDepartment of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Neurosurgery
Vanderbilt University

E. Duco Jansen is Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery and Associate Dean in the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University. He received his received his MS (Drs) degree in Medical Biology from the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) in 1990 and his MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from UT Austin in 1992 and 1994 respectively. His research focuses on optical neural interfaces, mechanisms of pulsed laser ablation of biological tissue, and cellular and biochemical responses of biological tissue to laser radiation. He has published over 100 scholarly articles and book chapters in addition to 250 conference abstracts and proceedings. He is a Fellow of the SPIE, AIMBE, and ASLMS.

Photonic neural interfaces: using infrared light to control neural activity

Photonic technologies offer novel and unique opportunities to interface with the neural system and manipulate neural activity. The focus of this talk will be on the use of infrared laser pulses to induce and/or inhibit electrical activity (EP/AP) in neurons. This method has been shown to have several fundamental advantages over traditional electrical stimulation, including the spatial precision of stimulation that can be achieved in a non-contact fashion, and the lack of a stimulation artifact on the recording electrodes in classic stimulation-recording experiments. In this talk, I will present an overview of the concepts and applications of optical nerve stimulation and present some of our recent work on optical nerve inhibition. Characterization of optical stimulation and physiological validation will be shown. The underlying biophysical mechanisms of optical stimulations appear to be thermally mediated. I will present our work on mechanistic studies as well as on the applications in the peripheral nervous system (stimulation of motor neurons and stimulation of sensory nerves in the cochlea), stimulation in the CNS, optical pacing of the developing heart, and the development of a stand-alone optical nerve stimulator.