NaviNetics NeuroModulation seeks to improve the efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) by studying the role of neurochemical and electrophysiological biomarkers in movement or psychiatric disorders. The team conducts neurochemical recordings in subjects undergoing stimulation using the Wireless Instantaneous Neurotransmitter Concentration Sensing System (WINCS, Figure 1).

Figure 1. WINCS Harmoni device. (A) Photograph of the WINCS Harmoni device; (B) Schematic diagram showing the functional components in WINCS Harmoni, including the neurochemical sensing and stimulation boards, charging components, Bluetooth transceiver, primary microcontroller, and control software in the base station; (C) Image and dimensions of the WINCS Harmoni delta sigma (ΔΣ) analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that enables four channels of simultaneous neurochemical recordings; (D) Typical calibration curves for each of the four neurochemical recording channels in WINCS Harmoni showing a linear relationship between dopamine oxidation current and dopamine concentration.

Surgical, pharmacologic, behavioral, cognitive, and neuromodulation therapies have been used to treat distinct neurologic diseases with mixed results. Clinical improvement has been limited at least in part by an incomplete understanding of how specific changes in neural network activity affect behavior. In order to achieve significant advances in patient treatment, the cascade of biomolecular effects that accompany normal and pathological behavior need to be elucidated.

Simultaneous wireless control of stimulation, neurochemical recordings, and data telemetry

Our device provides independent but synchronized neurochemical/electrophysiological measurements and stimulation. The integration of the hardware for neurochemical/electrophysiological recording and stimulation into a single system enabled the interleaving of stimulation with the recordings. As a result, the impact of stimulation artifact on the measurement and characterization of the recordings is minimized, thereby ensuring any stimulation artifact present in the recorded data does not overlap with the signals of interest

Preclinical research for understanding brain mechanisms

Our device can be used to quantify neuronal electrical activity and neurochemical levels such as dopamine, serotonin, and adenosine. Using WINCS, it is possible to address a gap in the understanding of normal and pathologic neurophysiology by analyzing multimodal recordings (e.g. local field potential and phasic/tonic neurochemical levels). Our device also provides a platform for wireless control and telemetry, thus allowing for seamless real-time interfacing with data analysis software to enable characterization potential biomarkers. Our results demonstrate that our device is suitable for detecting brain signaling across different animal models.

Figure 2. Application of WINCS in swine model. (A) A deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode was implanted within the swine substantia nigra pars compacta/ventral tegmental (SNc/VTA). (B) Four carbon fiber microelectrodes (CFM) for neurochemical recording implanted within the swine striatum (green). (D) Pseudocolor plots showing dopamine detection via fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) from the four CFMs. (E) Time-series plots showing the current recorded at the dopamine oxidation peak