University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Seminar: Dr. DonHee Ham Gordon McKay

"Intracellular Recording of Thousands of Mammalian Neurons on a silicon chip"


Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 10:30am


Dr. DonHee Ham Gordon McKay, Professor of Applied Physics and EE, Harvard University


Gunness Student CTR Conference room


BIO: DonHee Ham is a Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and EE at Harvard University. He earned a B.S degree in physics from Seoul National University. Following a 1.5 year military service in South Korea, he went to Caltech for graduate training in physics. There he worked in LIGO under Professor Barry Barish while in physics, and later obtained a Ph.D. in EE winning the Wilts Prize for the best EE thesis. The intellectual focus of his group at Harvard is on quantum and low- dimensional devices, neuro-electronic interface, NMR biomolecular spectroscopy, and integrated circuits.

ABSTRACT: Massively parallel, intracellular recording of a large number of neurons across a network is a great pursuit in neurobiology, but it has not been achieved. The intracellular recording by the patch clamp electrode boasts unparalleled sensitivity that can measure down to sub-threshold synaptic events, but it is too bulky to be implemented into a dense massivescale array: so far only 10 parallel patch recordings have been possible. Optical methods- E.G. voltage sensitive dyes/proteins- have been developed in hopes of parallelizing intracellular recording, but they have not been able to perform recording from more than 30 neurons in parallel. The microelectrode array can record from many more neurons, but this extracellular technique has too low a sensitivity to tap into synaptic activities. In this talk, I would like to share our ongoing effort, a silicon chip that conducts intracellular recording from thousands of connected mammalian neurons in vitro, and discuss applications in highthroughout screening, functional connectome mapping, neuromorphic engineering and data science.