Wireless, Spinal Cord-interfaced, Subdermal Microsensors For Studying the Effects of Environmental Factors on Atopic Dermatitis-induced Neural Signaling
Amay Jairaj Bandodkar
Santosh Kumar Mishra
Project runs from 03/15/2021 to 03/31/2022
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic condition that causes severe inflammation and itch and affects millions. Ambient temperature and pollutants are major factors that trigger AD and associated itch. Unusual temperatures and increased exposure to pollutants, common outcomes of climate change, are believed to have led to higher severity and number of AD cases. However, the underlying neuromodulatory processing of climate change on AD remains elusive. Precise monitoring of neuromodulatory processes requires innovative neurochemical sensors that seamlessly integrate with the three-dimensional central nervous system for continuous monitoring of neurotransmitters along the nervous system in freely moving animals. Unfortunately, present neurochemical sensors are either tethered or rely on bulky, battery-powered, head-mounted wireless electronics. Such approaches significantly affect animal behavior and cause erratic data. We propose to overcome this major issue to study the role of environmental factors on AD and itch by developing a new class of miniaturized, battery-free, wireless microsensors interfaced along the spinal cord of freely moving animals for capturing catecholamine levels in real-time. Specifically, we will study the implications of acute and chronic exposure to elevated ambient temperature and common pollutants (formaldehyde) on the underlying neurological processes associated with itch and inflammation in naïve and AD mouse models. The proposed idea builds upon Dr. Mishra’s experience in developing AD mouse models that closely mimic AD in humans to study itch-related signaling in the central nervous system and Dr. Bandodkar’s expertise in developing wireless, battery-free neural probes for optogenetics and neurochemical sensing.