Center of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science and Technology A National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center

Misha Panko

Misha Panko conducts research in Prof Frank Guenther’s Speech Lab at BU and Prof Earl Miller’s Lab at MIT. He participates in a multi-institutional project on developing an invasive brain-machine interface (BMI) to restore speech function in locked-in patients via extracellularly recording brain activity and decoding it into commands for a speech synthesizer.

At the moment he is working on improving our recording system based on the Neurotrophic Electrode (NE) developed by Dr. Philip Kennedy (Neural Signals Inc.) to add more input channels (electrodes) and achieve higher signal-to-noise ratio of the collected neural data. Currently they are testing their new design in rhesus macaques at MIT. In couple months they will make another implant to compare the performances of NEs to widely used Blackrock multi-channel arrays (Blackrock Microsystems) in the same animal.

This study will allow them to select the optimal system for the long-term implantation in human patients. From a more fundamental perspective our research project is also investigating the capabilities of the modern invasive neurophysiological techniques to record meaningful and stable signal over long periods of time. Precisely knowing specific powers and limitations of these methods opens up alleys for tracking cells in behaving animals over weeks and possibly even months to study memory and learning.

Another important aspect of his work is developing computational algorithms which can effectively process noisy neural signals and convert them into commands for an external speech device in real time. This research is in line with the CELEST focus on learning as both the patient’s brain and the decoding algorithms need to adapt to each other to enable robust BMI control. This project also aims at developing new technology based on neuroscience research, another important goal of CELEST.

Last updated on May 18, 2011