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Rehabilitation of a Cerebellar Function by a Biomimetic Silicon Chip

Participating Organizations

The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK (Co-ordinator).


The integration of medical sciences and ICT provides promise in bringing about fundamental changes in the treatment of neurological pathologies. ‘State-of-the-art’ work focuses on deep brain stimulation for treatment of disorders such as Parkinson’s, providing specific stimulation protocols and assuming the integrity of the anatomical substrate. In many pathologies the neuronal circuit itself is compromised and to treat these pathologies the complete neuronal circuit must be replaced. We aim to develop a full biohybrid rehabilitation and substitution methodology; replacing the aged cerebellar brain circuit with a biomimetic chip bidirectionally interfaced to the inputs and outputs of the system. Information processing will interface with the cerebellum to actuate a ‘normal’ real-time functional behavioural recovery, providing a proof-of-concept test for the functional rehabilitation of more complex neuronal systems. The cerebellar microcircuit is a well defined neuronal system. Studies have demonstrated its involvement in conditioning of the motor eyeblink response. Localized experimental or clinical damage to this microcircuit disrupts irreversibly the eyeblink conditioning while aging invariably compromises the acquisition and retention of the eyeblink response. Using the aged rat as an experimental model, we plan to integrate a biomimetic chip to rehabilitate a discrete sensory-motor learning function lost in the senescent cerebellar microcircuit.

The approach will consider each of the following steps:

  1. Development of biocompatible microelectrode arrays
  2. Study of cerebellar processing in the animal model
  3. Signal processing for the integration of spatio-temporal events with real time extraction of sensory events
  4. Development of a biomimetic cerebellar chip
  5. Development of an autonomous biohybrid device
  6. Integration of the technology and animal model
  7. Behavioural studies to demonstrate functional recovery of the response.

Project Website: http://www.renachip.org/


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