Pancrazio, Joseph J.

Permanent URI for this collection

Joseph Pancrazio serves as an Associate Provost and Professor of Bioengineering. He is also the Director of the Neuronal Networks and Interfaces Lab. His research interests include:

  • Leveraging advances in microscale technology,
  • Material science, and
  • Imaging to develop novel neural interfaces.

ORCID page


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Item
    Emerging Neurotechnology for Antinoceptive Mechanisms and Therapeutics Discovery
    (Elsevier Advanced Technology, 2018-11-13) Black, Bryan J.; Atmaramani, Rahul; Plagens, Sarah; Campbell, Zachary T.; Dussor, Gregory; Price, Theodore J.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; 0000-0002-3768-6996 (Campbell, ZT); 0000-0002-6971-6221 (Price, TJ); 0000-0001-8276-3690 (Pancrazio, JJ); Black, Bryan J.; Atmaramani, Rahul; Plagens, Sarah; Campbell, Zachary T.; Dussor, Gregory; Price, Theodore J.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.
    The tolerance, abuse, and potential exacerbation associated with classical chronic pain medications such as opioids creates a need for alternative therapeutics. Phenotypic screening provides a complementary approach to traditional target-based drug discovery. Profiling cellular phenotypes enables quantification of physiologically relevant traits central to a disease pathology without prior identification of a specific drug target. For complex disorders such as chronic pain, which likely involves many molecular targets, this approach may identify novel treatments. Sensory neurons, termed nociceptors, are derived from dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and can undergo changes in membrane excitability during chronic pain. In this review, we describe phenotypic screening paradigms that make use of nociceptor electrophysiology. The purpose of this paper is to review the bioelectrical behavior of DRG neurons, signaling complexity in sensory neurons, various sensory neuron models, assays for bioelectrical behavior, and emerging efforts to leverage microfabrication and microfluidics for assay development. We discuss limitations and advantages of these various approaches and offer perspectives on opportunities for future development.
  • Item
    Responsive, 3d Electronics Enabled by Liquid Crystal Elastomer Substrates
    (American Chemical Society, 2019-05-09) Kim, Hyun; Gibson, J.; Maeng, Jimin; Saed, Mohand O.; Pimentel, K.; Rihani, Rashed T.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; Georgakopoulos, S. V.; Ware, Taylor H.; 0000-0001-7996-7393 (Ware, TH); Kim, Hyun; Maeng, Jimin; Saed, Mohand O.; Rihani, Rashed T.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; Ware, Taylor H.
    Traditional electronic devices are rigid, planar, and mechanically static. The combination of traditional electronic materials and responsive polymer substrates is of significant interest to provide opportunities to replace conventional electronic devices with stretchable, 3D, and responsive electronics. Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are well suited to function as such dynamic substrates because of their large strain, reversible stimulus response that can be controlled through directed self-assembly of molecular order. Here, we discuss using LCEs as substrates for electronic devices that are flat during processing but then morph into controlled 3D structures. We design and demonstrate processes for a variety of electronic devices on LCEs including deformation-tolerant conducting traces and capacitors and cold temperature-responsive antennas. For example, patterning twisted nematic orientation within the substrate can be used to create helical electronic devices that stretch up to 100% with less than 2% change in resistance or capacitance. Moreover, we discuss self-morphing LCE antennas which can dynamically change the operating frequency from 2.7 GHz (room temperature) to 3.3 GHz (-65 °C). We envision applications for these 3D, responsive devices in wearable or implantable electronics and in cold-chain monitoring radio frequency identification sensors. ©2019 American Chemical Society.
  • Item
    Electrical Properties of Thiol-ene-Based Shape Memory Polymers Intended For Flexible Electronics
    (MDPI AG, 2019-05-17) Frewin, Christopher L.; Ecker, Melanie; Joshi-Imre, Alexandra; Kamgue, Jonathan; Waddell, Jeanneane; Danda, Vindhya Reddy; Stiller, Alison M.; Voit, Walter E.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; 0000-0002-0603-6683 (Ecker, M); 0000-0002-4271-1623 (Joshi-Imre, A); 0000-0003-0135-0531 (Voit, WE); 0000-0001-8276-3690 (Pancrazio, JJ); Frewin, Christopher L.; Ecker, Melanie; Joshi-Imre, Alexandra; Kamgue, Jonathan; Waddell, Jeanneane; Danda, Vindhya Reddy; Stiller, Alison M.; Voit, Walter E.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.
    Thiol-ene/acrylate-based shape memory polymers (SMPs) with tunable mechanical and thermomechanical properties are promising substrate materials for flexible electronics applications. These UV-curable polymer compositions can easily be polymerized onto pre-fabricated electronic components and can be molded into desired geometries to provide a shape-changing behavior or a tunable softness. Alternatively, SMPs may be prepared as a flat substrate, and electronic circuitry may be built directly on top by thin film processing technologies. Whichever way the final structure is produced, the operation of electronic circuits will be influenced by the electrical and mechanical properties of the underlying (and sometimes also encapsulating) SMP substrate. Here, we present electronic properties, such as permittivity and resistivity of a typical SMP composition that has a low glass transition temperature (between 40 and 60 °C dependent on the curing process) in different thermomechanical states of polymer. We fabricated parallel plate capacitors from a previously reported SMP composition (fully softening (FS)-SMP) using two different curing processes, and then we determined the electrical properties of relative permittivity and resistivity below and above the glass transition temperature. Our data shows that the curing process influenced the electrical permittivity, but not the electrical resistivity. Corona-Kelvin metrology evaluated the quality of the surface of FS-SMP spun on the wafer. Overall, FS-SMP demonstrates resistivity appropriate for use as an insulating material. © 2019 by the authors.
  • Item
    The Effect of Microfluidic Geometry on Myoblast Migration
    (MDPI AG) Atmaramani, Rahul; Black, Brian J.; Lam, Kevin H.; Sheth, Vinit M.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; Schmidtke, David W.; Alsmadi, Nesreen Zoghoul; 0000-0002-9325-547X (Atmaramani, R); 0000-0001-8276-3690 (Pancrazio, JJ); 0000-0001-6404-318X (Schmidtke, DW); Atmaramani, Rahul; Black, Brian J.; Lam, Kevin H.; Sheth, Vinit M.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; Schmidtke, David W.; Alsmadi, Nesreen Zoghoul
    In vitro systems comprised of wells interconnected by microchannels have emerged as a platform for the study of cell migration or multicellular models. In the present study, we systematically evaluated the effect of microchannel width on spontaneous myoblast migration across these microchannels-from the proximal to the distal chamber. Myoblast migration was examined in microfluidic devices with varying microchannel widths of 1.5-20 µm, and in chips with uniform microchannel widths over time spans that are relevant for myoblast-to-myofiber differentiation in vitro. We found that the likelihood of spontaneous myoblast migration was microchannel width dependent and that a width of 3 µm was necessary to limit spontaneous migration below 5% of cells in the seeded well after 48 h. These results inform the future design of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microchannel-based co-culture platforms as well as future in vitro studies of myoblast migration. © 2019 by the authors.
  • Item
    A Mosquito Inspired Strategy to Implant Microprobes into the Brain
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-11-05) Shoffstall, Andrew J.; Srinivasan, Suraj; Willis, Mitchell; Stiller, Allison M.; Ecker, Melanie; Voit, Walter E.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; Capadona, Jeffrey R.; 0000-0002-0603-6683 (Ecker, M); 0000-0003-0135-0531 (Voit, WE); 0000-0001-8276-3690 (Pancrazio, JJ); Stiller, Allison M.; Ecker, Melanie; Voit, Walter E.; Pancrazio, Joseph J.
    Mosquitos are among the deadliest insects on the planet due to their ability to transmit diseases like malaria through their bite. In order to bite, a mosquito must insert a set of micro-sized needles through the skin to reach vascular structures. The mosquito uses a combination of mechanisms including an insertion guide to enable it to bite and feed off of larger animals. Here, we report on a biomimetic strategy inspired by the mosquito insertion guide to enable the implantation of intracortical microelectrodes into the brain. Next generation microelectrode designs leveraging ultra-small dimensions and/or flexible materials offer the promise of increased performance, but present difficulties in reliable implantation. With the biomimetic guide in place, the rate of successful microprobe insertion increased from 37.5% to 100% due to the rise in the critical buckling force of the microprobes by 3.8-fold. The prototype guides presented here provide a reproducible method to augment the insertion of small, flexible devices into the brain. In the future, similar approaches may be considered and applied to the insertion of other difficult to implant medical devices.
  • Item
    Spontaneous and Evoked Activity from Murine Ventral Horn Cultures on Microelectrode Arrays
    (Frontiers Media SA, 2018-06-01) Black, Bryan J.; Atmaramani, Rahul; Pancrazio, Joseph J.; 0000-0001-8276-3690 (Pancrazio, JJ); Black, Bryan J.; Atmaramani, Rahul; Pancrazio, Joseph J.
    Motor neurons are the site of action for several neurological disorders and paralytic toxins, with cell bodies located in the ventral horn (VH) of the spinal cord along with interneurons and support cells. Microelectrode arrays (MEAs) have emerged as a high content assay platform for mechanistic studies and drug discovery. Here, we explored the spontaneous and evoked electrical activity of VH cultures derived from embryonic mouse spinal cord on multi-well plates of MEAs. Primary VH cultures from embryonic day 15-16 mice were characterized by expression of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) by immunocytochemistry. Well resolved, all-or-nothing spontaneous spikes with profiles consistent with extracellular action potentials were observed after 3 days in vitro, persisting with consistent firing rates until at least day in vitro 19. The majority of the spontaneous activity consisted of tonic firing interspersed with coordinated bursting across the network. After 5 days in vitro, spike activity was readily evoked by voltage pulses where a minimum amplitude and duration required for excitation was 300 mV and 100 μs/phase, respectively. We characterized the sensitivity of spontaneous and evoked activity to a host of pharmacological agents including AP5, CNQX, strychnine, omega-agatoxin IVA, and botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A). These experiments revealed sensitivity of the cultured VH to both agonist and antagonist compounds in a manner consistent with mature tissue derived from slices. In the case of BoNT/A, we also demonstrated intoxication persistence over an 18-day period, followed by partial intoxication recovery induced by N- and P/Q-type calcium channel agonist GV-58. In total, our findings suggest that VH cultures on multi-well MEA plates may represent a moderate throughput, high content assay for performing mechanistic studies and for screening potential therapeutics pertaining to paralytic toxins and neurological disorders.

Works in Treasures @ UT Dallas are made available exclusively for educational purposes such as research or instruction. Literary rights, including copyright for published works held by the creator(s) or their heirs, or other third parties may apply. All rights are reserved unless otherwise indicated by the copyright owner(s).