Copyright 2016 Biomedical Microdevices Laboratory
Current Research
Representative publications:
[1] Y Damestani, CL Reynolds, J Szu, MS Hsu, Y Kodera, DK Binder, BH Park, JE Garay, MP Rao, and G Aguilar.
Nanomed-Nanotechnol 9(8):1135-1138, 2013.
Top: Transparent nc-YSZ cranial implants: A) Implant placed on printed scale; B) Craniectomy location on murine cranium; C) Craniectomy with dura mater left intact; and D) After implant placement. Note: Implant opacity in (D) is flash-induced image artifact [1]. Bottom: OCT cross-sectional image of murine brain through: (Left) Native cranium; and (Right) nc-YSZ implant [1].
Windows to the Brain

Under the leadership of Prof. G Aguilar (UCR ME), research in this thrust focuses on developing novel transparent ceramic cranial implants, which may eventually provide a clinically-viable means for optically accessing the brain, on-demand, over large areas, and on a chronically-recurring basis, without need for repeated craniectomies.

While laser-based techniques have shown promise for enhancing the diagnosis and treatment of many neurological disorders, the poor transparency of cranial bone to clinically-relevant laser wavelengths typically necessitates use of invasive craniectomies to provide optical access to the brain. This constrains the ultimate utility of such techniques, particularly for applications where chronically-recurring access over large areas is required.

The nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized zirconia (nc-YSZ) implants shown here seek to address this limitation. Although these are not the first transparent cranial implants to be reported, they are the first that could be conceivably used in humans. This is due to the inherent toughness of YSZ, which makes it far more resistant to shock and impact than the glass-based implants previously demonstrated by others.

G Aguilar, ME, UCR
JE Garay, ME, UCR
DK Binder, Biomed Sci & SoM, UCR
UCR Chancellor's Strategic Research Initiative (PI: Aguilar)