Leading-Edge Research and Development > Research Profiles > Profiles Archive > CNSE Graduate Student Receives Prestigious NIH Recognition for Innovative Neuroscience Research
CNSE Graduate Student Receives Prestigious NIH Recognition for Innovative Neuroscience Research
Research conducted at CNSE by Ph.D. candidate Jennifer King to help mitigate the devastating effects of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Epilepsy has led to her receipt of a prestigious award sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Jennifer came to CNSE armed with an extensive background upon graduation from the rigorous BS/MS program in the School of Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University. Her thesis focused on Electroencephalography (EEG) studies - the recording of the brain's spontaneous activity over a short period of time - involving patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. This research prompted Jennifer to pursue further studies in neuroscience.
"I attended a Biomedical Sciences retreat in fall 2009 and saw a presentation given by CNSE Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Matthew Hynd," says Jennifer. "I was very intrigued by his nanotechnology-related neurological research and thought with my background in science and engineering, CNSE would be a great place for me to continue my research."
Her efforts led to Jennifer's selection as one of only ten recipients of the prestigious Neural Interfaces Conference (NIC) 2010 Excellence in Neural Interfacing Awards. The program gives financial assistance to students who actively work in the field of neural prostheses, or have strong potential to contribute to this area, to travel to the 39th NIC, which was held on June 21 - 23 in Long Beach, CA. The conference facilitates the sharing of knowledge and experience among groups involved in various stages of neural interface development.
"This is a phenomenal achievement for a first-year graduate student," says Professor Hynd, Jennifer's adviser at CNSE. "Jennifer should be proud that she was selected from thousands of applicants that included more senior graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from both national and international institutions."
The award also gave Jennifer the opportunity to present her research on neuroprosthetics at the NIC. Her poster presentation focused on using nanotechnology to make smaller and less invasive neuroprosthetic devices, which can be used to stimulate the brain cells to ease the effects of diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Epilepsy. The brain recognizes current neuroprosthetic devices as foreign objects, and brain cells react to it by surrounding the entire device within 24 hours of it being implanted. Jennifer's project focused on helping Professor Hynd and his research team use nanofabrication techniques to eventually develop a device that is small enough that the brain does not recognize it.
"It is an honor to be given the opportunity to present my research at the Neural Interfaces Conference," says Jennifer. "Without the resources available to me at CNSE, I wouldn't have the chance to do the groundbreaking research that I am currently doing."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), neurological disorders will become the world's second leading cause of death by the year 2040, overtaking deaths caused by both cancer and HIV/AIDS.