It’s in The Little Things

Kai-Wen Yang, Class of 2020.

Undergraduate student research work and published paper talk about the importance of miniaturized medical devices.

What are the limits and trade-offs in producing very small medical chips meant to be implanted inside the human brain? Those are the types of questions Kai-Wen Yang investigates during her Post-graduation Practical Training Program.

Working with Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Sohmyung Ha, Yang was the first author of a review paper noting the challenges of scaling down these neural implants. Through literature research and model simulations, the Class of 2020 student explored the powering, communications, neural recording and stimulation of these tiny devices. Her paper has since been accepted and published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Access.

The Importance of Miniaturized Implants

When these implants are placed inside the human body, important data are being recorded, which help doctors come up with more personalized treatment plans. In the long run, getting this critical information helps improve the current medical treatment and progress scientific research. 

Yang added the implants can also administer therapeutic electrical stimulation to the brain through electrical impulses, and is regarded as an effective therapy for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

“The contribution of the review paper is to synthesize and highlight the numerous challenges that are still in need to be addressed and resolved,” the Taiwanese added.

Getting into Her Dream Graduate Program

Kai-Wen Yang, Class of 2020.

The experiences gained from being an undergraduate research assistant at NYUAD ultimately inspired Yang to pursue her passion in healthcare, medicine and public health. The experience also drove her thirst for knowledge.

“The more I learned (at NYUAD), the more I realized that there are so many things that I don’t know about,” the electrical engineering student said. Yang was accepted into the Master of Science and Engineering Program at Johns Hopkins University to begin the next stage of her quest for knowledge.