Siddhi Bianca Camila Lama

Ph.D. Student (MIT Portugal)


M.Sc. in Cellular, Tissue, and Organ Transplantation, Universitat de Barcelona, 2013
B.Sc. in Human Development, Colorado State University, 2012

Research Activities

As human beings, we take for granted our ability to feel pleasure, pain, temperature, texture, and a myriad of other sensations through stereognosis. These sensations originate from the human somatosensory system. The somatosensory system plays a key role in exteroreptive, interoceptive, and proprioceptive functions, whose roles are related to perception of stimuli, reaction to stimuli, and control of body position and balance, respectively. With such a complex bodily entity, one of my main scientific questions is obvious: How can we replicate somatosensory system function?

Currently, the best way to successfully replicate somatosensory function in amputees is through transplantation-- though this remains a complex, time intensive process with no guarantee of a patient regaining complete sensory function or control. However, this procedure is not accessible to most people, particularly due to an intensive psychological screening and lifelong autoimmune suppression required. This has led to increased research into prosthetics and artificial skin substitutes that are capable of giving sensory feedback, as well as limb regeneration.

My project focuses on combining innovative concepts, specifically three: (i) electroconductive materials; (ii) skin grafts and neural innervation; and (iii) cellular stimulation and migration, in order to create a novel human-machine interface. We plan to utilize biocompatible, non-biodegradable, electroconductive stretchable material support designed through polymer synthesis and processing using electrospinning to bridge the gap between these fields. Eventual use of skin grafts and co-cultured cells upon these electroconductive scaffolds will allow us to examine consequent cellular migration due to electrical fields. The resulting interface will allow for the eventual recovery of complete somatosensory function to prostheses users, as well as the potential to assist patients with conditions that affect the somatosensory system, such as severe burns, Vittangi disease, and leprosy.


E-mail (click on)