Date of Defense



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Damon Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. Frank Severance

Third Advisor

Dr. John Gesink


Neuron cells can be cultured on a grid of electrodes (a micro-electrode array or MEA). These cultures form neural networks and generate electrical signals just as in nervous systems. The purpose of this project was to develop the infrastructure required to conduct experiments with MEAs. Electronic circuitry to measure and stimulate neuron cell culture electrical activity via these electrodes has been developed. This includes signal amplification and filtering circuitry to amplify neuron signals while reducing noise. Measurement, processing, and stimulation are accomplished using analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, a digital signal processor, and other circuitry. Processing includes detection of action potentials or "spikes" in electrical activity and generation of electrode stimulation voltages. These electronics are embedded in a feedback loop to allow stimulation signal modification based on processed signals. A laboratory to support MEA-based projects has been specified. The laboratory will include all equipment and supplies needed to first dissociate and then culture rat embryonic cortical neurons on MEAs. This will enable measurement and stimulation of neuron electrical activity using the electronics described above. Required protocols for neuron culturing on MEAs have been adapted from work by A. Cadotte and Dr. T. DeMarse at the University of Florida. No culturing has been performed yet. The long term goal of this research is to investigate use of neuron cell cultures as computational devices. This research could lead to advances in artificial intelligence. The developed circuitry can only be considered complete after successful integration with a neuron culture. More work is needed to fully realize the potential of this project.


Fourth advisor: Dr. Bradley Bazuin

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only