Our projects are related to two main areas. The major area is Brain Machine Interfacing, ie implantation of neural interfaces or neural electrodes in the nervous system. We are particularly interested in the biocompatibility issues related to implantation of artificial materials in brain or spinal cord.
Our studies focus on the evoked tissue reactions and the long term function of the implanted electrodes. The ultimate goal is to create a new generation of electrodes that can be chronically implanted in the brain or spinal cord and used to relieve conditions such as Parkinson´s disease or chronic pain or to register nerve signals in order to control artificial limbs or the patients environment. This research area is fully integrated into the activities of the crossdisciplinary Neuronano Research Center (NRC), http://www.med.lu.se/nrc.
Our previous research in neural interfacing focused on implantation of electrodes in the peripheral nervous system in a project called the Artificial Hand Project. In this project we also used artificial neural networks (ANN) to interpret complex EMG signals in order to steer virtual hands or hand prostheses. This line of research is today continued in an EU project named SmartHand coordinated by a researcher at the Lund Institute of Technology.
The other area is the nerve cell body reactions after peripheral nerve injury and regeneration after nerve repair. This research is done in collaboration with the Department of Hand Surgery. Peripheral nerve injury induces profound changes in the nerve cell bodies. One of these changes are altered expression of various neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are small proteins that are believed to function as modulators of primary transmitters and they may also function as survival factors for injured neurons. In this project we have focused on a specific neuropeptide named PACAP. Nerve injury induces a dramatic upregulation of PACAP including larger neurons. PACAP expression is controlled by by the neurotrophins NGF, BDNF and NT-3. This neuropeptide is also involved in modulation of nociceptive behaviour.
The methods we use in our research are quantitative morphology using immuno-histochemistry, in situ hybridization and ligand binding.