Soft and flexible bioelectronics for brain-machine interfaces



Time: 14:00-15:30 on Thur.,Dec.28, 2023

Venue:Room 143, New Biology Building

Speaker: Dr. Jia Liu

Host: Dr. Xing Sheng

Title: Soft and flexible bioelectronics for brain-machine interfaces.




Large-scale brain mapping through brain-machine interfaces is important for deciphering neuron dynamics, addressing neurological disorders, and developing advanced neuroprosthetics. Ultimately, brain mapping aims to simultaneously record activities from millions, if not billions, of neurons with single-cell resolution, millisecond temporal resolution and cell-type specificity, across three-dimensional (3D) brain tissues over the course of brain development, learning, and aging. In this talk, I will first introduce flexible and soft bioelectronics with tissue-like properties that can track electrical activity from the same neurons in the brain of behaving animals over their entire adult life. Specifically, I will discuss the fundamental limitations of the electrochemical stability of soft electronic materials in bioelectronics and present our strategies to overcome these limitations, enabling a scalable platform for large-scale, long-term, stable brain mapping. Then, I will discuss the creation of “cyborg organisms”, achieved by embedding stretchable mesh-like electrode arrays in 2D sheets of stem/progenitor cells and reconfiguring them through 2D-to-3D organogenesis, which enables continuous 3D electrophysiology during the development of human stem cell-derived brain organoids and animal embryonic brains. Next, I will highlight our current efforts that merge 3D single-cell spatial transcriptomics, machine learning, and electrical recording, enabling cell-type-specific brain activity mapping. In conclusion, I will envision the fusion of soft and flexible electronics, spatial transcriptomics, and AI for a comprehensive brain cell functional atlas to enhance future brain-machine interface applications. 



Professor Liu received his PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2014, after which he completed postdoctoral research at Stanford University from 2015-2018. He joined the faculty at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as an Assistant Professor in 2019. At Harvard University, Professor Liu’s lab focuses on the development of soft bioelectronics, cyborg engineering, genetic/genomic engineering, and computational tools for addressing questions in brain-machine interfaces, neuroscience, cardiac diseases, and developmental disorders. Professor Liu has pioneered in bioelectronics where he developed new paradigms for soft electronic materials and nanoelectronics architectures for “tissue-like electronics”, as well as their applications for long-term stable brain-machine interface, high-density cardiac mapping, stem cell maturation, and multimodal spatial biology. His work has been recognized as a milestone in bioelectronics by Science in 2013 and 2017, and as Most Notable Chemistry Research and Top 10 World-Changing Ideas in 2015. He has received numerous awards for his independent career, including the 2022 Inventors Under 35 (Global List) by MIT Technology Review, the 2022 Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the 2021 NIH/NIDDK Catalyst Award from the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Program, the 2020 William F. Milton Award, and the 2019 Aramont Award for Emerging Science Research Fellowship. He is also the co-founder and advisor of Axoft, Inc., a brain-machine interface company.