Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Biomedical Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Abhishek Prasad

Second Committee Member

Ozcan Ozdamar

Third Committee Member

Suhrud Rajguru

Fourth Committee Member

Jorge E. Bohorquez

Fifth Committee Member

Odelia Schwartz


Patients suffering from paralysis or amputations can benefit from neural prosthetics to restore movement, such as control of a robotic limb for self-feeding or cursor control from communication. Current neuroprosthetics rely on stable, high quality recordings from chronically implanted microelectrode arrays in neural tissue. Microelectrodes implanted in brain tissue can be affected by multiple abiotic and biotic factors that lead to degradation in recording quality, ultimately resulting in electrode failure. While chronic electrophysiological recordings and electrode failure modes have been reported from larger non-human primates, studies in primary motor cortex from the marmoset model have not been previously described. The recording stability and signal quality of microelectrode arrays chronically implanted in behaving marmosets will be quantified to show the feasibility of long-term recordings and potential of this animal model in neural interface research. With the animal model established, the descending motor signals in the spinal cord can be used as an alternative source of control signals. While the use of cortical neural activity for prosthetic control has been reported, some limitations may be resolved by proposing the spinal cord as a favorable target to record neural signals. The possibility of long-term stable recordings in the spinal cord of awake, behaving marmosets will be investigated by comparing signals between the motor cortex and spinal cord, as well as decoding spinal cord signals to assess viability for prosthetic control. Finally, the spinal cord motor signals will be applied towards the development of closed- loop control in a spinal cord machine interface application. The objective of this proposal is to develop a novel neural interface using chronic recordings from microelectrode arrays from the common marmoset.


Neuroprosthetics; single unit activity; motor cortex; spinal cord; marmoset; neural recording

Available for download on Thursday, July 16, 2020