Cleanroom User Spotlight: Muneeb Zia

Muneeb Zia in the IEN Cleanroom

Muneeb Zia is a research engineer in the Integrated 3D Systems Lab led by Professor Muhannad Bakir. His research focuses on developing microfabrication technologies for heterogeneous integration and in vivo biosensing applications. In the following Q&A, Zia briefly discusses his work in the IEN cleanroom and gives advice to current and future users.

How long have you been using the IEN Cleanroom?

I have been using the IEN Cleanroom for about 10 years.

What tools do you use when you are in the cleanroom and what are you doing?

Most of my current work involves the fabrication of high-density flexible electromyography (EMG) electrodes. To do this, I use a variety of tools including, but not limited to:

So, if you run into me in the cleanroom, I am probably making some flexible EMG electrodes.

What is/has been your favorite project you have worked on in the IEN cleanroom?

My favorite project has been the fabrication of flexible EMG electrodes. These flexible high-density arrays were initially developed to record single motor unit activity from the tiny muscles controlling breathing and vocal behavior in songbirds. However, since these initial studies, we have further developed our devices’ capabilities and collaborated with a number of labs to create new electrode designs. These new designs can record from several different species and muscle groups, including from humans. The first successful human trial was also carried out by the Pruszynski Lab in Canada earlier this year.

We are now working to share this technology with the greater neuroscience community around the world. We are conducting remote workshops where we provide the electrode arrays developed in the IEN Cleanroom along with online instruction materials to users to collect high-resolution EMG data in their own labs. To date, labs from around the world including labs in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Switzerland, Portugal, Denmark, and Finland have participated in the workshop. We plan to have more than 100 labs around the world use the electrodes by the end of the workshop.

What would you say to other people thinking about using a tool in the IEN cleanroom?

Getting trained on a new tool is very streamlined and simple, and there are a lot of training videos available to get you started. The trainers in the IEN Cleanroom are also very accessible and always willing to work with you. So, do not wait!

What is your favorite thing about the IEN Cleanroom?

My favorite thing about the IEN Cleanroom is the extremely supportive and helpful staff.

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