Basel, 25 March 2021
The science journal Advance Biology has published a cover created by Micronaut. The hi-tech picture is leading us directly inside a human brain and took several years from early concept to realization. It is called ‹Neuronal Highways› and shows neuronal cells growing and interacting with each other on a microelectronics array. The ‹chip› was especially developed by scientists and allows to analyze and decipher neuronal signal transduction inside the utterly complex cellular network that ultimately operates and controls every part of the human body, and especially the brain.
Preparations of electro-active cells, predominantly brain cells, are placed directly atop fully processed microelectronic chips carrying thousands of electrodes. The chips are used to address fundamental questions in neuroscience and medicine.
In the lab of Prof. Andreas Hierlemann, scientists pursue an extracellular, bioelectronic approach to electrophysiology, which relies on the close juxtaposition of electrogenic cells (cells that produce electrical activity) and tissues with state-of-the-art integrated electronic systems. The cell preparations (dissociated cells, tissue slices) are placed directly atop fully processed microelectronic chips carrying thousands of electrodes and featuring CMOS circuitry. The bio-electronic interface consists of noble-metal electrodes. Prospective fields of applications of our technology include, besides fundamental neuroscience research, pharmascreening, the investigation of mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, or the development of aural and visual prostheses.
© M Oeggerli with S Ronchi and A Hierlemann, Bio-Engineering Laboratory, D-BSSE, ETH Zurich, supported by Pathology University Hospital Basel, and Bio EM Lab, Biozentrum, University Basel.
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