Graduate Seminar Series

March 31, 2023

10:00 a.m. ET

7500 Wean Hall

Multimodal, multiscale, and high-resolution bioelectronics enabled by nanoscale soft conductors 

Bioelectronic technologies have enabled novel and more effective approaches to diagnose and treat neurological and neuromuscular disorders. The vast majority of bioelectronic devices, however, still rely on traditional materials like metals and silicon, which are expensive to source and process, and intrinsically inadequate to safely interface with soft, dynamic biological structures. Thus, the development and clinical translation of safe, biocompatible, and long-term stable bioelectronics require significant innovations in materials and fabrication strategies. Soft nanoscale conductors, such as nanocarbons and MXenes, are uniquely positioned to address these challenges, as they combine remarkable electronic and electrochemical properties, with intrinsically high mass-specific surface area and low density. Furthermore, they can be processed in liquid phase, which allows to easily tune the electronic, mechanical, and optical properties. In this talk I will describe our work on novel processing and fabrication approaches for high-resolution, multiscale bioelectronic devices based on Ti3C2Tx MXene. Specifically, I will discuss the emerging electronic, electrochemical, and magnetic properties of Ti3C2Tx MXene that make it particularly attractive as bioelectronic material. I will also describe our custom scalable liquid-phase processes to translate the remarkable molecular properties into high-resolution bioelectronic interfaces with tunable optical and electronic properties and fully customizable geometry. In the final part of the talk, I will present examples of applications of soft and MRI-compatible MXene bioelectronics in both implantable and wearable devices for monitoring, diagnostics, and brain-computer interfaces at high-resolution and multiple scales.

Flavia Vitale, Assistant Professor, Center for Neuroengineering and Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania

Flavia VitaleDr. Vitale is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Neuroengineering and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania, and in the Departments of Neurology Bioengineering, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. She is also a core faculty member of the Brain Science, Translation, Innovation, and Modulation Center at Penn and of the Center of Neurotrauma, Neurodegeneration & Restoration at the Philadelphia VA. Dr. Vitale earned her B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the Università Campus Biomedico di Roma in 2008, and in 2012 she received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza”. She completed a postdoctoral training in Chemical Engineering at Rice University, a Neuroengineering training at Penn, and in 2018 she joined the Penn faculty. 

Dr. Vitale’s research interests are in the area of novel bioelectronic interfaces for studying, diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous and neuromuscular systems. The ultimate goal of the Vitale Lab is to translate these innovative technologies and scientific knowledge to patient care and improve outcomes. Dr. Vitale has been recognized with several awards, including the Welch Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Taking Flight Award from Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, the McCabe Fellow and Linda Pechenik Investigator Awards from the University of Pennsylvania, the K12 Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering Career Development Award from the NIH, and the 2021 Global Young Scientist Award from iCANX.