MSE Colloquium Speaker Chen Yang

  • Starts: 3:00 pm on Friday, November 2, 2018
  • Ends: 4:00 pm on Friday, November 2, 2018

Chen Yang

Boston University

Associate Professor

Faculty Host: Sahar Sharifzadeh

Student Host: Tianlun Huang

Refreshments at 2:45 PM

Design Nanomaterial for Neuron Regeneration and Stimulation


New functional nanomaterial interfacing with neurons provides a powerful tool to actively modulate the behaviours of neurons, opening up potential for new ways achieving neuron regeneration and stimulation. Failure in spontaneous neural regeneration is the one of challenges in treating spinal cord injury. Inspired by the hierarchically organized axon bundles in the spinal cord, we developed a “nanoladder” structure to effectively guide the diretional growth and facilitate functional reconnection of injuied neurons over a distance of ~2 mm. 3D silk based nanoladder scaffolds were created through a self-folding approach, enabling implantation of such scaffolds in animal models for testing spinal cord injury repair. For neurostimulation, the deep brain stimulation through electrodes has revolutionized the treatment of many brain disorders. However, implanted electrodes impose a serious surgical risk and undesired damage to brain. We aim at develop minimally invasive neuron modulation technology. Specifically, we are developing a optoacoustic nanotransducers based on polymer nanoparticles. The nanotransducers targeting on neuron memberane convert pulsed laser light with wavelength longer than 1000 nm penetrating intact animal skulls into acoustic waves to enable highly localized stimulation of a neural tissue.


Professor Chen Yang graduated from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), China, with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Physics in 1999. She obtained a Master of Philosophy in 2000 from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Prof. Yang received her doctoral degree in Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Charles M. Lieber at Harvard in 2006. Then she worked as an associate in McKinsey & Co, a world top business consulting company, from 2006 to 2007. Professor Yang joined Department of Chemistry and Department of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University in 2007 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. Professor Yang moved to Boston University and took a position of Associate Professor in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Chemistry in 2017. Prof. Yang’s research interest is focusing on functional nanomaterials for their potential applications in biomedical, photonics and solar energy applications. Her research has been published in many high profile journals, including Science, Nature, Nature Photonics, Physics Review Letter and Nano Letters, and been featured by public press releases, including Chemical and Engineering News, Advanced Engineering, and Harvard Gazette. She was a NSF Career Award recipient in 2009. She served as a guest editor for Journal of Electronic Materials and Molecules and currently serve on Editorial Board of Scientific Reports.

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