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ISS Informal Systems Seminar

Autonomous learning agents for intelligent neurostimulation


Mar 15, 2024   10:30 AM — 11:30 AM

Marco Bonizzato Polytechnique Montréal, Canada

Marco Bonizzato

Seminar in hybrid format at GERAD room 4488 or Zoom.

The nervous system communicates via electrical signals. Electrical neurostimulation is obtained by positioning electrodes in contact with brain, spinal cord or nerves and delivering stimuli that will modulate neuronal activity. This powerful technique allows causal investigation of neural circuits, enabling neuroscientific discovery. It also constitutes the biophysical foundation of a class of medical interventions. Neurostimulation always requires precise adjustment of several stimulation parameters, such as the spatial location of the stimulus, the timing, as well as the frequency of stimulus delivery. Even in the most cutting-edge applications, stimulation tuning has been almost exclusively handled manually. The lack of algorithmic frameworks to control and optimize neurostimulation has hindered scientific discovery. Our program is to transform neurostimulation by introducing an advanced autonomous control layer. We use Gaussian Process-based Bayesian Optimization (GPBO) as an algorithmic framework to tailor and personalize neurostimulation to each individual implant. We show that this framework could be scaled, via algorithmic novelties, to unprecedented neurostimulation steering capacities: 1) from solely stationary to new non-stationary optimization options, 2) from single target to multi-target optimization, 3) from simple outputs to sequences of stimuli. This work will equip neuroscientists and designers of medical technology with a toolbox of optimization methods to scale the next generation of medical technologies well beyond the limits of the present constrained control.

Bio: Marco Bonizzato is an Automation and Life Sciences Engineer working in implantable brain-computer interfaces and neuromodulation technology. He has a double expertise in (a) neural prostheses and (b) machine intelligence and optimization. He is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, Adjunct Professor of Neurosciences at Université de Montréal and Associate Academic Member at Mila - Québec AI institute. He is directing the sciNeurotech Lab. The research goal is developing the entire translational arc of new neurostimulation therapies, aiming at restoring sensorimotor function after neurotrauma, from discovery in rodent to application in human medical technology, tailored and personalized to each user by artificial learning agents.

Peter E. Caines organizer
Aditya Mahajan organizer
Shuang Gao organizer
Alex Dunyak organizer
Borna Sayedana organizer


Hybrid activity at GERAD
Zoom et salle 4488
Pavillon André-Aisenstadt
Campus de l'Université de Montréal
2920, chemin de la Tour

Montréal Québec H3T 1J4

Associated organization

Centre for intelligent machines (CIM)

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Research application