Neuromorphism in organic electronic materials | Michele Di Lauro

Michele Di Lauro is a researcher at the Center for Translational Neurophysiology of Speech and Communication of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT_CTNSC), in the “Organic Neuroelectronics” research line (PI: Prof. Fabio Biscarini). During his PhD course in Molecular and Regenerative Medicine (2014-2016) and in subsequent post-docs at both University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and IIT, he specialized in the fabrication, the characterization and the modeling of operational principles of organic electronic devices at the interface with biological environment. Currently, his research activity is focused on the clinical validation of implantable organic electronic devices for lesion border mapping in infiltrating tumors of the central nervous system in humans, as well as on the development of innovative theranostic approaches to neuropathological conditions, arising from both neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Parkinson’s disease) and post-traumatic or post-surgical injuries. To this end, he investigates fundamental aspects of charge transport in organic (semi-)conductive materials at the interface with complex electrolytes and living matter (in vitro and in vivo), with a particular focus on transient and frequency dependent phenomena. The latter allowed him to contribute seminal advancements in the newly defined field of “Organic Neuromorphic Bio-electronics”. He has authored more than 40 publications in international peer-reviewed scientific journals (Scopus H-index:15) and co-authored the headword “Organic Electronics” in the main Italian Encyclopedia (Treccani, est. 1929). Michele Di Lauro delivered a keynote talk in ICC 2023 at Bikaner. His abstract of talk is given below.

Organic electronic neuromorphic components and devices operated in electrolyte are being
investigated as powerful tools for bio-sensing, since their response is quantitatively determined
by the composition of operational electrolyte, or as signal processing units, thanks to their
selective response to frequency which enables low-power computation at the hardware level.

Given the inherent match between the timescales, the chemical identity of the charge
carriers and the signal processing logic paradigms in the brain and in organic neuromorphic
devices, the latter are – ideally – the natural choice when tackling the convoluted task of
efficiently interfacing neural tissue, establishing bidirectional exchange of information.

Nonetheless, the implementation of neuromorphic devices and concepts in neuroelectronic
interfaces designed specifically for clinical applications comes with a number of practical and
conceptual hurdles which should be addressed, from both sides of the biotic/abiotic interface.
Scope of this presentation is to discuss some of these critical issues, which have so far
impaired translation of neuromorphism in clinical scenarios, and to present strategies for
overcoming them, with a focus on connection schemes and characterization strategies as well
as on desiderata in terms of device geometry and material properties, hoping to trace a useful
vademecum for a material-science-driven developmental approach to Organic Neuromorphic

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