Dr Vallejo-Giraldo successfully defended her research on Sep 25th 2017. Following a viva examined by Drs Jessamyn Fairfield (Internal) and Róisín M. Owens (External). Her Ph.D research focused on the modification of implantable electrode systems to improve their chronic performance. Her work explores the development of functionalised coatings for these electrodes through the use of physical, chemical and biochemical approaches for neural interface applications to enhance neuron/electrode integration in vitro, and as further functionalisation strategies for subsequent ex-vivo and in-vivo evaluation.
Functional neuroelectrodes that support intimate contact with the tissue of the nervous system for long-term stimulation/recording performance and therapy, should remain functionally stable in situ to achieve optimum therapeutic benefit. “A common occurrence following electrode implantation is the formation of a glial ‘scar’ around the implant” explained Vallejo-Giraldo. “This causes the signal strength to decrease and adjacent neurons to move away from the electrode due to the surrounding region of gliosis, and thereby compromises the efficacy of a stimulating/recording system.”