Thursday, February 8, 2007

Pacemakers for the brain!

Dear Science Salon members:

I promised we would still have outside speakers for
some of the Salons so I'm extremely pleased to inform
you that William J. Marks, Jr., M.D.,
Associate Professor of Neurology,
University of California, San Francisco
join us for the March Science Salon
to talk about his research.

Without giving too much away, I will say that I asked
a number of friends in the bioengineering industry for
the names of people doing extremely cool brain research
who also worked in the San Francisco area.
Professor Marks' name came up on
more than one list.

The title of his talk will be:
"Pacemakers for the Brain: Electrical Stimulation to
Treat Neurological Disorders"

In the near future, Dr. marks will pass along one
or two articles for me to post
on my Science Salon page at:

Neuroelectronic stimulation for the treatment of
diseases and disorders is one of the hottest areas
in all of bioengineering. When I was back in graduate
school the idea of using electricity to
stimulate any kind of cell was still considered...
well pretty weird (as in "What do you think you're
doing with that lightning rod,Dr. Frankenstein!").
I can still remember attending
the first Gordon Conference on 'Bioelectrochemistry'.
People were talking about using external electric fields
to stimulate bone healing, to get DNA into cells for
genetic engineering*, and a whole host of other things.
It all sounded great... but only to the few of us
willing to belabelled 'bioelectrochemists'. Thirty some
years later, bioelectrochemistry has merged with a bunch
of other fields to become bioengineering and no one
considers this stuff strange anymore.

In fact, we are right in the mainstream.

More soon. AG
*PS This technique, now called electroporation
is a backbone of the genetic engineering
industry (a.k.a. Industrial Biology) and
commercial devices are produced by several
major biotech instrument companies!

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