Connie Manz, M.S.
Walter Voit, PhD
Romil Modi, M.S.
Taylor Ware, PhD
Bryan Black, PhD
Connie Manz is the CEO of Qualia, where she leverages her technical background and consulting experience to commercialize flexible bioelectronics based on softening substrate technologies. She has a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT as well as master’s degrees from MIT and UT Dallas. Prior to her position with Qualia, Ms. Manz was the lab finance manager for the Advanced Polymer Research Laboratory and Center for Engineering Innovation at UT Dallas. This included management of the $2+ million budget and coordination of collaborations, human resources, and other administrative tasks across six departments for over 80 lab members. Past experience also includes research experience at MIT, The Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore, and Draper Labs as well as business strategy consulting experience with Mars and Co.
Dr. Walter Voit is the President of Qualia. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT Dallas in Computer Science and Intelligent Systems, respectively, as well as a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Georgia Tech. Dr. Voit holds an associate professorship at UT Dallas where he explores the thermomechanics of shape memory polymers, flexible bioelectronics, next generation neural interfaces, 3-D printing, degradable polymers, and the effects of ionizing radiation on polymers. In addition to Qualia, Prof. Voit has co-founded Syzygy Memory Plastics, Adaptive 3D Technologies, Ares Materials, Pascalor, and Polycraft World. Dr. Voit is the 1st Vice-President and Science and Technology Chair of the Council on Ionizing Radiation Measurements and Standards through the National Institute of Standards and Technology and an International Atomic Energy Agency consultant in the field of radiation crosslinked shape memory polymers. Voit is a DARPA Young Faculty Awardee and DARPA Director’s Fellow and works closely with industry including Texas Instruments, GlaxoSmithKline, Halliburton, Qorvo, Plexon and Zyvex. A complete list of his published works can be found here.
Romil Modi has a B.S. from Rajasthan Technical University and M.S. from UT Dallas in Mechanical Engineering. He has spent the past several years studying, designing, and fabricating multielectrode arrays on shape memory polymers, first at UT Dallas and now at Qualia Labs. His work has been presented at multiple conferences, including the Neural Interfaces Conference
Taylor Ware is helping Qualia develop the next generation of cabling and connector technologies for our devices. Dr. Ware is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research interests include liquid crystal materials, flexible and stretchable electronics, biomaterials, and the interfacing of these technologies. Dr. Ware was a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2011) and the U.S. Air Force Young Investigator Award (2017). He is also a member of several professional societies, co-inventor of five patents, and author or co-author of more than 40 scientific publications.
Dr. Bryan Black currently serves as a Research Scientist in the Bioengineering Department at The University of Texas at Dallas, and is acting PI or Co-PI on three Qualia sub-contracts with the university. His responsibilities include helping Qualia Labs develop the next generation of cabling and connector technologies as well as supporting Qualia’s efforts in intracortical device fabrication, quality control, in vitro electrochemical testing, and in vivo recording/stimulation testing.
Qualia has developed a method that enables the use of standard electronics microfabrication processes to manufacture neural interface devices – including cuffs, blankets, spinal cord devices, intrafascicular probes, intracortical probes, and epicortical arrays – on shape memory polymers (SMPs). The SMP substrates can withstand solvents and high temperatures involved in photolithography processing thus allowing us to take advantage of the high-quality repeatability of these processes. The SMP also gives the device the necessary mechanical stiffness for surgical handling. Once implanted, the substrate softens by two orders of magnitude to reduce tissue strain, resulting in improved tissue response and device performance over longer periods of time.
Standard devices have titanium nitride (TiN) electrodes sputtered onto a gold conducting layer that is covalently bonded to the SMP substrate. The TiN electrodes offer high charge injection capacity while the strong bond between the conducting layer and SMP insulation helps to prevent delamination of the device after implantation. Additional electrode options such as sputtered iridium oxide film (SIROF) and platinum are also offered on our devices.
Spinal Cord Devices
González-González, María A., et al. “Thin Film Multi-Electrode Softening Cuffs for Selective Neuromodulation.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 6 Nov. 2018, www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34566-6.
Stiller, Allison M., et al. “Chronic Intracortical Recording and Electrochemical Stability of Thiol-Ene/Acrylate Shape Memory Polymer Electrode Arrays.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 29 Sept. 2018, www.mdpi.com/2072-666X/9/10/500.
17217 Waterview Pkwy STE 1.202
Dallas, TX 75252