Copyright 2016 Biomedical Microdevices Laboratory
 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 .
Bottom: OCT cross-sectional image of
murine brain through: (Left) Native
cranium; and (Right) nc-YSZ implant .
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
BH Park, BIEN, UCR
UCR Chancellor's Strategic Research Initiative (PI: Aguilar)