[Under construction]2015 AFOSR MURINanoelectropulse-Induced Electromechanical Signaling and Control of Biological SystemsPO: Dr. Sofi-BIN-SALAMON, BiophysicsPI: Dr. Andrei Pakhomov, Frank Reidy Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion UniversityWebsite: TBD
Electromechanical signaling governs all living processes, and electrical stimuli from manmade devices are employed to alter, trigger, halt, or manipulate biological systems in complex ways. However, remote bio-stimulation by pulsed radiofrequency (RF) or ultra-wideband emissions has not been possible, and varied attempts to scale up the pulse power and apply different pulsing protocols were unproductive. The landscape has recently been changed by a breakthrough finding of bipolar pulse cancellation, which (a) explains the earlier failures and (b) enables a new, science-based paradigm of pulsed RF stimulation. Bipolar cancellation is unique to nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEF) and is manifested by a profound reduction of biological efficiency if the polarity of the nsPEF is reversed. Emitted RF waves are bipolar by nature which makes them inefficient, but the new concept relies on the superposition of two or more specially designed, synchronized, bipolar RF pulses into a biologically effective monopolar nsPEF at a remote location. This project outlines multidisciplinary basic research and advanced modeling efforts in support and development of this concept, for making pulsed RF stimulation a reality.
Proposed technical approaches include the development of comprehensive action spectra for nsPEF stimuli at the cellular and sub-cellular level; delivery of new, unique devices for nsPEF stimulation and new tools for non-invasive measurements of local electric fields and viscoelasticity; employing these tools to uncover the mechanisms of nsPEF effects at sub-μs and sub-μm scales; molecular dynamics simulation and continuum computational modeling of nsPEF effects, based on non-equilibrium physical and biological processes; electrophysiological, pharmacological, and optical analyses of downstream effects of nsPEF; and demonstration of the remote stimulation and control of biological systems by pulsed RF.
Anticipated outcome and potential impact on DoD capabilities This project leads to a deeper understanding of neurostimulation with pulsed RF energy and novel applications of this modality. Employing the bipolar cancellation feature will enable the deliberate construction and conscious use of biologically effective emissions. It is highly likely that such emissions will provide a novel directed energy capability with applications for the battlefield, communications, enhancement of warfighter capabilities, and a new category of man-machine interface devices. The project provides the DoD with a set of transformative tools to non-invasively assess the membrane potential and elasticity of living cells on a microscopic and nanoscopic scale, permitting feedback control systems to be implemented.