The application of flexible and nonconventional electronics to biomedical engineering has the potential to transform both disciplines. First, flexible devices may be used to unlock mysteries of biological systems at various levels. This symposium provides a great opportunity for scientists and engineers from around the world, and from many different disciplines to share their results and insights in the field of nonconventional electronics with a specific focus on the application of these devices to biomedical engineering. As compared to other symposia on flexible electronics, this unique effort will focus on synergistic interactions with neural engineering and cellular phenomena to address unmet needs. Existing symposia are firmly grounded in either the field of biomaterials, organic electronics, or devices. However, this symposium aims to integrate all three through rich interactions. The NSF funding will increase the affordability of the meeting for oral and poster presenters, who consist mainly of young and emerging investigators in the field with a strong focus on participation by students and postdoctoral researchers.
Broader Impact This NSF funding will allow the student attendees to become familiar with state of the art in micro-systems, structures, and devices for modulating cell function and medical devices. Specifically, research groups across the country will be encouraged to support undergraduate participation in the poster sessions, as a means of exposing students to a high level of research at an early age. This symposium will also inform investigators at all levels about the unmet needs and emerging opportunities in the areas of research at the inter face between non conventional electronics and biomedical engineering.
There are three key outcomes that were advanced through the organization of this specific symposium: (1) encouraging student participation; (2) increasing collaborations across disciplines and nations; (3) communicating highlights of the specific audience to a broader audience. These project outcomes were achieved through the following activities: Student Participation. Attendance by students and post-docs was promoted through several mechanisms. Part of the requested funds was used to fund an internal student poster competition within the symposium. Furthermore, in addition to slots for invited speakers who are more established, there was an abundance of 15 minute speaking slots dedicated for student participation. This mechanism was designed to give students an opportunity to present their work to a broad engineering audience. Advancing Collaboration. Promoting collaboration between the fields of non-conventional electronics and biomedical engineering was a priority for this symposium. This session advanced collaboration by bringing together researchers from these two fundamentally distinct disciplines. One mechanism for future collaboration between international researchers was the Materials World Network, an NSF-funded initiative to advance collaboration between US-based investigators and international counterparts. This symposium was especially suited to foster this type of collaboration. Widespread Communication. There were three potential mechanisms to present the activities of the session in an archival format. First, the session published a daily online publication called "MRS Meeting Scene" in which highlights of symposia were summarized and distributed to all members of the Society, including those not in attendance. Second, the organizers prepared a brief report to summarize the podium presentations for future use by the MRS. Resource permitting, we will also summarize our activities in the Materials360o, an archival online publication that informs members of recent advances in rapidly growing or particularly interesting fields.