Plenary Talks

Opening Plenary Talks

Monday, May 21st, 19:30-20:30

Responsive Neuromodulation for a Dynamic and Distributed Mental State
Presented by David Borton

Selecting and acting on salient features among a complex, dynamic environment is a critical skill of all animals, including humans, in order to survive and thrive. The ability to both accumulate sufficient evidence to accurately estimate the probability of success and then to appropriately balance the reward and risks associated with the decision are key features of successful action selection and actuation, and must occur rapidly, within a diverse and changing environment. Although the human nervous system operates at the millisecond timescale, current neuromodulation treatments to nearly all neurological insults and injury are titrated over weeks to months. Electrophysiological interrogation of the nervous system is today limited by our inability to probe the brain at high spatial and temporal precision, and across large spatial and temporal scales. For example, deep-brain stimulation (DBS) treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is set and adjusted through infrequent visits by the patient to a trained physician. Likewise, epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord (SCS) for treatment of pain is titrated via infrequent visits to clinics and often utilizing constant rates of stimulation. A more responsive form of DBS and SCS could offer improved therapy by sensing changes in neural activity, or biomarkers of disease, and then adjusting the amplitude, frequency, or pattern of stimulation in response. Such a system should ideally be able to detect the onset of intended movement or pathological network activity and then act within a meaningful timeframe to provide effective titration of treatment. In this talk, I will discuss prior work on developing responsive spinal cord neuromodulation platform for the recovery of lower limb function after spinal cord injury. I will then discuss our more recent efforts to migrate such concepts to the treatment of severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in humans. Finally, I will discuss technological challenges and opportunities we are pursuing that may provide observation of, and interaction with, the nervous system at the cellular level across many areas of the brain simultaneously, paving the way for new neuroscience discoveries and therapeutic opportunities.

Bio: David Borton is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Brown University School of Engineering (SOE), the Brown Institute for Brain Science (BIBS), and a Biomedical Engineer at the Providence Veterans Affairs Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology (CfNN).  Prof. Borton leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers focused on the design, development, and implementation of novel neural recording and stimulation systems. His research enables basic science innovation through technological integration and implementation of novel devices. Prof. Borton currently focuses on engineering new tools for wireless interrogation of the nervous system with a goal of untangling the underpinnings of neuromotor disease and injury. Prof. Borton was recently awarded the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award in 2015 and the DARPA Director’s Award in 2017. His laboratory is currently supported by the U.S. Department of Defense, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Mental Health, the International Research in Paraplegia Foundation, and several industry contracts. His work was featured in the journal Nature demonstrating that through wireless neurotechnology, brain recordings can be used to help spinal cord injury subjects walk again. He performed his post-doctoral research at the Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne Switzerland (EPFL) under a Marie Curie International Fellowship.

Brain-Computer Interfaces for Stroke Rehabilitation
Presented by Prof Cuntai Guan
Stroke is the leading cause of severe disabilities in many countries. Upper limb weakness and loss of hand function are among the most devastating types of disabilities. In the past two decades, concerted efforts have been put into the search for effective therapies to help stroke patients to restore their motor functions. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) have emerged to be one of the promising approaches which have been extensively explored in the past decade or so. In this talk, we first introduce several studies we have conducted in the past years, from system development to clinical trials and neuroimaging analysis. We will try to discuss some further hypotheses for future research in this direction.
Bio:   Prof Cuntai Guan is a Professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University and Co-Director of the Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore. His research interests are in the fields of Brain-Computer Interfaces, Neural Engineering, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and Neuro-technologies. He published more than 300 journal and conference papers and holds more than 20 international patents and patent applications. He is an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Access, Frontiers in Neuroscience, Brain Computer Interfaces, and Guest-Editor of for the IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine. He is the recipient of the Annual BCI Research Award, the IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award, Achiever of the Year (Research) Award, Finalist of President Technology Award, National Infocomm Award and top winner of International BCI Competitions. He is a Fellow of IEEE.


Closing Plenary Talks

Thursday, May 24, 19:30-20:30

EEG-based BCI Translation: Easy as One-Two-Three
Presented by Theresa M. Vaughan, B.A.

The National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies (NCAN) and Helen Hayes Hospital have developed and translated a portable 8-channel EEG-based BCI system into daily use by BCI users and their caregivers. We have installed 39 BCI systems in the homes of individuals with ALS. Twenty-two individuals (56%) used their BCI independently. Eight individuals (20%) used BCI as their sole source of autonomous communication and computer control. We now seek to provide tools, training, and support for clinicians interested in providing BCI to their own patients. To date, we have trained clinicians from 10 institutions to perform BCI evaluations and we continue to develop tools that can provide more intuitive access to BCI technology. Our goal is a network of clinicians who can provide BCI technology to their own patients (with tier-two technical support from NCAN), and share data and best practice. The results of this work indicate that: an EEG-based BCI can be effective in independent use by people their homes; this BCI can be provided to clinicians who then evaluate and train their own patients; and data collected in this manner and shared can yield valuable new insights concerning BCI research and development.

Intracortical BCIs and Functional Electrical Stimulation: What is Necessary for Clinical Translation?
Presented by A. Bolu Ajiboye

Advances in intracortical brain-computer interfaces (iBCIs) and neuroprosthetics research have allowed persons with chronic tetraplegia to regain control of functional reaching and grasping, via robotic limbs and now recently using their own paralyzed arm and hand, reanimated through functional electrical stimulation (FES). Previous FES systems for restoring reaching and grasping have relied on variants of state-based command schema to perform multi-dimensional movements of the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulders. Our recent work shows an individual with chronic tetraplegia commanding continuous multi-dimensional movements of his paralyzed limb, to perform function reaching and grasping tasks such as drinking and self-feeding. This lab-based demonstration, like many others, offer a glimpse into what is possible with iBCIs and neuroprosthetic systems. However, much more needs to be done to move these systems beyond lab demonstrations to be truly ready for at-home day-to-day use. In this talk, I will discuss both the clinical benefits of the FES+iBCI system, and scientific and technological advances across the field that are moving these technologies toward viable public adoption.

Dr. Ajiboye  is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University as well as a Research Scientist, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, FES Center of Excellence.


Thank you to the 2018 BCI Meeting sponsors