Electrodes coatings for neural tissue

Developing coatings for brain electrodes to improve its biocompatibility and reduce infections

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Completion Date: Mon 11 Jan 2016

Short Summary

I'm raising this amount of money to finance my research on coatings to improve biocompatibility of neural implants. Cochlear implant, deep brain stimulation, Parkinson or Alzheimer, just to name a few, have been using electrodes to improve the life quality of people. However, on the long time span, the organism reacts and endup rendering them useless... I intend to improve its lifetime by developing coatings based on tungsten, stainless steel, titanium and iridium, doped with "something else" and produced by sputtering

Who am i?

35 years, Engineer, plus MsC and PhD in Materials Science, with biomaterials as a main focus. I do have a good base on Materials Science but also on cell culture. Most of the analysis I intend to use are made by myself, from the analysis of the coating structure to the cell test.  

Finished my PhD on coatings for neural implants, but for silicon based electrodes. Although these results were good, I want more, and to be able to use on other materials, each of which has its own advantages. As my intention is to have the results of the research to come fast from the lab into the "real world", I do wish to have be more results driven than papers or "profit" driven. That is why i did thought on crowdfunding. 

WHy to do this?

-Finished my PhD on coatings for neural implants, but for silicon based electrodes. Although these results were good, I want more, and to be able to use on other materials, each of which has its own advantages. As my intention is to have the results of the research to come fast from the lab into the "real world", I do wish to have be more results driven than papers or "profit" driven. That is why i did thought on crowdfunding.Like this, everyone will take a part on this research, and everyone that may need to have electrodes implanted may take its results. 

There may be 2 results in the ending of this research: none of the coatings had the required properties, or at least one of them was promising enough for the final stage. This is when the transition will be made from the "lab world" into the "real world". This transition will not be made alone, but during the research, which does have a maximum predicted of 5 years of duration, the companies who produced these devices will be contacted, and it will be given the opportunity of incorporating the coatings technology on their production line. However, this investment will be very reduced, as the research itself was already funded. So, as the royalties are low (only the enough to register the patent), and the investment is low, the price of the devices will be nearly the same. Moreover, as the sputtering process does sterilyze the electrode, they may even lower its costs, while the life span is increased.

And this is the reason why I went crowdfunding, because everyone, or even a relative, may endup having a better life just for a small investment! In the end, every research is useless if it does not get into "production lines" and into everyone's life. Moreover, I don't intend to get rich, I intend to do "my job" (I choose to be a scientist), and simply to get a fair pay for that. Nothing else. After this one is done, I still have a couple of ideas to do. 

Where will the money go?...

-I'll be honest and tell you that a part will be spent in taxes... Cannot nor will try to avoid that... This will be a 5 year project, I'll do all the lab work, from the production of the coatings, into its analysis. I do foresee a 5 years maximum duration, although if it takes less, it will be used to reduce the implementation costs. I do know a few labs where I can do the tests, which lets me use the equipment. However, I'll have to buy some material and pay for the maintenance costs... And I hope you don't take me wrong, but as this will be a 24/7 job, I won't have time to get money from anywhere else... So part of the fund will go for my paycheck... I'm aiming at the same that I've received during my PhD: 6.2 euros per hour, clean. 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, this will give roughly 1000 euros. Taking into account that the taxes will be nearly 50% of this value (VAT and social security), will go 1500 euros per month. If we go 14 months, rounded down, It will be needed 100.000 euros (around 90.000£)...

- Targets (what is used to do the coatings) 10.000 €

- Substrates (where the coatings are made) 5.000 €

- Substrates preparation materials 3.000€

- Sputtering machine (using for 12 months) 10.000 €

- EPMA (chemical composition) 5.000€

- X-Ray diffraction (structural analysis) 3.000 €

- Nanohardness (and young modulus) 5.000 €

- Transmission Electron Microscopy (structural analysis) 10.000 €

- Scanning Electron Microscopy (surface characteristics) 8.000 €

- Zeta Potential (biocompatibility related) 3.000 €

- Bacteria testing (bacteria strains, culture mediums) 10.000 €

- Neural cells testing (cell culture lines and preparation solutions) 25.000 €

- Atomic Force Microscopy (morphology) 3.000€

Minimum for advancing, 200.000€ (roughly 150.000£), and believe me that it will require some care and planing. With the funding target, it will be possible to use other techniques to do the characterisation, and furthermore, it will allow to do some base study on the antibacterial effect. 



Rewards!

And here goes, what will you get from funding?... A big thank you from me and from everyone who will use electrodes in the future. But, more than that, EVERYONE will receive reports of the results, and at least once a month I'll make a video with the progress of the research. You'll be the first to receive that, and follow up. More than that, if you do have any idea or suggestion, or even a question about the research, you'll receive it before anyone else does. You'll also see the submited papers before they are published, as you'll all be colaborators. I don't promise to put everyone's name on the papers, but I'll do my best to include the top 10 contributers at least on one of them. The top 3 will have a special thanks, and an update every 2 day, if they wish so. I don't promise, but I'll may consider to send to everyone a small sample with a coating on it, if the funding is trully sucessfull!





Small video on the introduction of a neural electrode



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