ECE Seminar: Neurostimulation of Brain Networks and Cardiovascular Systems

Seminar Abstract: Neurophysiological and mental ailments such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease affect millions of lives and cost the US economy more than $100 billion yearly in lost productivity. Efforts to understand the biophysical cause of these disorders have revealed the two extreme spectra of excessive (pathological) synchronization of neural activity across multiple brain regions, namely, a continuous regime of synchronized activity (e.g., in Parkinson's disease) and episodes of synchronized activity (e.g., in epileptic seizures). While the existing stimulation therapies effectively suppress disease-specific pathological synchronization of neural activity when they occur, they fail to prevent the re-emergence of pathological synchronized neural activity once the stimulation is turned off.

In the first half of this seminar, Gautam Kumar will talk about his recently developed novel neurostimulation motif, “Forced Temporal Spike-Time Stimulation” (FTSTS), which has shown remarkable promise in long-lasting suppression of pathological synchronized neural activity by harnessing synaptic plasticity. He will demonstrate the efficacy of the FTSTS strategy in a generic large-scale computational model of excitatory-inhibitory networks and a computational model of a neocortical epileptic seizure.

In the second half of this seminar, he will present his recent work on fusing machine learning with model predictive control for closed-loop vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) of cardiovascular systems. VNS has been proposed as a potential therapy for cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure and hypertension. However, there are currently two significant challenges associated with VNS delivery for treating cardiovascular diseases: (1) The recruitment of specific fibers in the vagus nerve, as not all fibers have the same effect on the functioning of the cardiovascular systems; (2) The optimal selection of VNS parameters to achieve a desired physiological response in a closed-loop framework, as multiple VNS locations and parameters make the closed-loop design challenging. Gautam will focus on the second challenge and present various closed-loop designs for optimizing VNS parameters to control cardiovascular physiology.

Speaker bio: Gautam Kumar is currently an assistant professor in chemical and materials engineering at San José State University. He received B. Tech. in chemical engineering (2005) from the IIT Kanpur; M.S. (2008) and Ph.D. (2013), both in chemical engineering from Lehigh University under the supervision of Dr. Mayuresh Kothare. He has held an assistant professor position in chemical and biological engineering at the University of Idaho (2016-2021) and a postdoctoral position in electrical and systems engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (2013- 2016). His interdisciplinary research interests span closed-loop neuromodulation, neural engineering, computational neuroscience, and machine learning approaches in modeling and controlling complex dynamical systems. He is a review editor for Frontiers in Control Engineering – AI and Machine Learning Control section.

Dial-In Information

Monday, March 13 at 10:40am to 11:40am

Virtual Event