Dentcho IvanovWith $1 million in funding from the State of New Jersey,  NJIT researchers are working to improve treatments for hydrocephalus, an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the ventricle cavities inside the brain. Current treatment involves pressure-dependent shunts that have disadvantages including lack of monitoring of the CSF flow, limited response to the CSF pulsations, clogging of the catheter openings and high cost.

The group, led by Donald Sebastian, vice president for research and development, and Richard Greene, research professor of biomedical engineering, is addressing many of these problems. Dentcho Ivanov,  director of the Microelectronics Fabrication Center, is collaborating with Joseph Madsen of Harvard Medical School to develop a MEMS-based shunt for patients with hydrocephalus. The team has designed an innovative, low-cost bioMEMS valve-array shunt that eliminates existing problems.

Gordon Thomas, distinguished research professor of physics, Jeffrey Catrambone of UMDNJ, Greene, Madsen and students have determined the susceptibility of existing valves to ambient magnetic fields, used retinal imaging for early detection, and made and tested new valves with flexible circuit smart coatings" to monitor flow.

Gordon Thomas

In the photo above, Dr. Thomas and graduate student Sheng Liu use retinal scans ) for early detection of hydrocephalus. Below, Drs. Dencho Ivanov and Rajendra Jarwal are testing a MEMS-based shunt  that would improve on available treatments.