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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Albert Folch
BIOEN 498
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Topics of current interest in the field, offered as lectures, conferences, or laboratory. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

This course introduces students to the broad field of Neural Engineering. The course is approximately divided in four sections: 1) Technologies for monitoring neural activity in vivo (whole brain, from human to small animals) and in vitro (from slices to dissociated cells); discussion of challenges associated with device portability, accessibility of stimulation site, and stimulation scale; wireless EEG, fMRI, microfabricated electrode arrays (MEAs), patch clamp electrophysiological recordings, patch clamp chips,; 2) Devices for replacing or restoring neural function: implantable electrodes, brain-computer interfaces (BCI), cochlear implants, artificial retina, artificial nose; 3) Devices for in-vitro neuroscience: cellular micropatterns, microfluidic systems; 4) Computational and imaging approaches: The BrainBow project, the UW Human Brain project, computational modeling of neuronal networks.

Student learning goals

Know the state of the art of neural engineering research, methods and devices

Understand the limitations of interfaces between human tissue and artificial surfaces

Be able to comprehend a text from the neural engineering literature

Be very familiar with the UW neural engineering community

General method of instruction

The course is based on small-group lectures and discussions, and visits to leading UW Neural Engineering labs.

Recommended preparation

There is no mandatory textbook, but there is a good textbook for ~50% of the material -- "Neural Engineering" by Bin He (ed.), Kluwer Academic / Plenum Press. There is one copy at the Engineering Library. If "neuron" and "ion channel" do not mean anything to you, this course might be a little difficult for you … but you are welcome to take it! I recommend starting with Brainfacts (see link in course web site), a quick introduction to the nervous system, and moving on to more general textbooks such as “Principles of Neural Science” by Kandel/Schwartz/Jessell (Fourth ed.).

Class assignments and grading

Three (maximum four) assignments in the form of an essay, each on a pivotal paper from the neural engineering literature. Part of the essay will be to answer questions related to the class materials.

First assignment (or two) is (are) weighted 0.25 Second assignment is weighted 0.5 Last assignment is weighted 1

All assignments are graded 0-4 and final grade is 0-4

Class participation is strongly encouraged and may increase your grade by up to as much as


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Albert Folch
Date: 09/24/2008