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News U8

“The almighty graphene”, a podcast by Elisabet Prats

Elisabet Prats Alfonso, a researcher in the team coordinating NANBIOSIS U8 Micro– Nano Technology Unit explains in a podcast her most recent research based on the functionalization of chemical and biochemical sensor platforms as well as the characterization of materials such as graphene for both neuronal recording and biomarker detection. Her work is part of the Graphene Flagship project in which she collaborates with relevant European groups.

Eli Prat as a researcher Ph.D. in Chemistry and also dedicated to dissemination is a great exemple for the NANBIOSIS aim to encourage STEAM scientific vocations especially among girls.

In addition, she is the author, together with Helena González and Oriol Marimón, of the book Elementum and the great robbery of Nurú” (La Esfera de los Libros, 2020), a scientific novel aimed at children .

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Researchers of NANBIOSIS U8 highlighted in the World Health Day

In the Picture: Gemma Gabriel and Rosa Villa

World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7 April (on the aniversary of the World Health Organization constitution) to raise awareness about the ongoing health issues that concern people across the world.

This year, Xarctec Salud has called the attention on patients with brain diseases and spinal cord injuries and has highlighted the GAB Lab. Biomedical Applications Group of the IMB-CNM-CSIC and CIBER-BBN, the group, led by Rosa Villa, coordinates unit 8 ICTS NANBIOSIS of Micro-nano Technology Unit.

https://youtu.be/wiA5oFc6Q48

The Xartec Salut is a network, led by CREB UPC, made up of 47 research groups that belong to 17 different institutions. It aims to be a catalyst for R+D+I in the field of HealthTech by Fostering the exchange of knowledge between research groups, institutions, hospitals and companies, promoting company creation and new career opportunities and offering more efficient instruments for technology transfer.

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New graphene-based neural probes improve detection of epileptic brain signals

A study published in Nature Nanotechnology shows that flexible brain probes made of graphene micro-transistors can be used to record pathological brain signals associated with epilepsy with excellent fidelity and high spatial resolution. This research was led by the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC), the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology (UK).

The ability to record and map the full range of brain signals using electrophysiological probes will greatly advance our understanding of brain diseases and aid the clinical management of patients with diverse neurological disorders. However, current technologies are limited in their ability to accurately obtain with high spatial fidelity ultraslow brain signals. In a paper published today in Nature Nanotechnology, an international team of researchers report a flexible neural probe made of graphene-based field-effect transistors capable of recording the full spectrum of brain signals, including infraslow; and demonstrate the ability of these devices to detect with high fidelity electrographic signatures of the epileptic brain.

Epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide, with up to 30% of people unable to control their seizures using traditional anti-epileptic drugs. For drug-refractory patients, epilepsy surgery may be a viable option. Surgical removal of the area of the brain where the seizures first start can result in seizure freedom; however, the success of surgery relies on accurately identifying the seizure onset zone (SOZ).  Epileptic signals span over a wide range of frequencies –much larger than the band monitored in conventional EEG.  Electrographic biomarkers of a SOZ include very fast oscillations as well as infraslow activity and direct-current (DC) shifts. The latter, in particular, can provide very relevant information associated with seizure onset but are seldom used due to the poor performance of current probes to record these types of slow brain signals. Application of this technology will allow researchers to investigate the role infraslow oscillations play in promoting susceptibility windows for the transition to seizure, as well as improving detection of clinically relevant electrophysiological biomarkers associated with epilepsy.

The graphene depth neural probe (gDNP) developed by the authors of this research consists of a millimetre-long linear array of micro-transistors imbedded in a micrometre-thin polymeric flexible substrate. The flexible gDNP devices were chronically implanted in small animal models of seizures and epilepsy. The implanted devices provided outstanding spatial resolution and very rich wide bandwidth recording of epileptic brain signals over weeks. In addition, extensive chronic biocompatibility tests confirmed no significant tissue damage and neuro-inflammation, attributed to the biocompatibility of the used materials, including graphene, and the flexible nature of the gDNP device.

Future clinical translation of this technology offers the possibility to identify and confine much more precisely the zones of the brain responsible for seizure onset before surgery, leading to less extensive resections and better outcomes. Ultimately, this technology can also be applied to improve our understanding of other neurological diseases associated with ultraslow brain signals, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke and migraine.

“The development of this graphene-based neurotechnology was possible thanks to the microfabrication capacities of the Micro and Nanofabrication Clean Room”, explains Anton Guimerà about the Unique Science and Technology Infrastructure (ICTS) recognized by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

This study was led by ICREA Prof. Jose A Garrido, head of the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group, Dr Anton Guimerà-Brunet, from the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC) and CIBER-BBN and researcher of NANBIOSIS Unit 8 Micro-nanotechnology unit, and Dr Rob Wykes, from the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology (UK) & the Nanomedicine Lab of the University of Manchester (UK). First author of the paper is Dr Andrea Bonaccini Calia, a former member of Prof. Garrido’s group. This study was conducted in the frame of the EU project Graphene Flagship. It benefited from multidisciplinary collaborations and received valuable contributions from researchers at the Nanomedicine Lab of the University of Manchester (UK), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) and g.tec medical engineering GmbH (Austria).

The authors acknoledged the participation of NANBIOSIS Unit 8 Micro-nanotechnology unit, (from CIBER-BBN at IMB-CNM-CSIC) led by Dr. Rosa Villa, in the research in the article of reference.

Reference article:

Andrea Bonaccini Calia, Eduard Masvidal-Codina, Trevor M. Smith, Nathan Schäfer, Daman Rathore, Elisa Rodríguez-Lucas, Xavi Illa, Jose M. De la Cruz, Elena Del Corro, Elisabet Prats-Alfonso, Damià Viana, Jessica Bousquet, Clement Hébert, Javier Martínez-Aguilar, Justin R. Sperling, Matthew Drummond, Arnab Halder, Abbie Dodd, Katharine Barr, Sinead Savage, Jordina Fornell, Jordi Sort, Christoph Guger, Rosa Villa, Kostas Kostarelos, Rob Wykes, Anton Guimerà-Brunet, and Jose A. Garrido, Full bandwidth electrophysiology of seizures and epileptiform activity enabled by flexible graphene micro-transistor depth neural probes. Nature Nanotechnology, 2021. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-021-01041-9

Source of information: IMB-CNM-CSIC

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The suitability of flexible graphene depth neuralprobes for in vivo electrophysiology research

  • A study published in “Nature Nanotechnology” shows that flexible brain probes made of graphene micro-transistors can be used to record pathological brain signals associated with epilepsy with excellent fidelity and high spatial resolution.
  • This research was led by the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC) and the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology (UK).

Barcelona, Wednesday 22 December 2021. The ability to record and map the full range of brain signals using electrophysiological probes will greatly advance our understanding of brain diseases and aid the clinical management of patients with diverse neurological disorders. However, current technologies are limited in their ability to accurately obtain with high spatial fidelity ultraslow brain signals. In a paper published today in Nature Nanotechnology, an international team of researchers report a flexible neural probe made of graphene-based field-effect transistors capable of recording the full spectrum of brain signals, including infraslow; and demonstrate the ability of these devices to detect with high fidelity electrographic signatures of the epileptic brain.

Epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide, with up to 30% of people unable to control their seizures using traditional anti-epileptic drugs. For drug-refractory patients, epilepsy surgery may be a viable option. Surgical removal of the area of the brain where the seizures first start can result in seizure freedom; however, the success of surgery relies on accurately identifying the seizure onset zone (SOZ).  Epileptic signals span over a wide range of frequencies –much larger than the band monitored in conventional EEG.  Electrographic biomarkers of a SOZ include very fast oscillations as well as infraslow activity and direct-current (DC) shifts. The latter, in particular, can provide very relevant information associated with seizure onset but are seldom used due to the poor performance of current probes to record these types of slow brain signals. Application of this technology will allow researchers to investigate the role infraslow oscillations play in promoting susceptibility windows for the transition to seizure, as well as improving detection of clinically relevant electrophysiological biomarkers associated with epilepsy.

The graphene depth neural probe (gDNP) developed by the authors of this research consists of a millimetre-long linear array of micro-transistors imbedded in a micrometre-thin polymeric flexible substrate. The flexible gDNP devices were chronically implanted in small animal models of seizures and epilepsy. The implanted devices provided outstanding spatial resolution and very rich wide bandwidth recording of epileptic brain signals over weeks. In addition, extensive chronic biocompatibility tests confirmed no significant tissue damage and neuro-inflammation, attributed to the biocompatibility of the used materials, including graphene, and the flexible nature of the gDNP device.

Future clinical translation of this technology offers the possibility to identify and confine much more precisely the zones of the brain responsible for seizure onset before surgery, leading to less extensive resections and better outcomes. Ultimately, this technology can also be applied to improve our understanding of other neurological diseases associated with ultraslow brain signals, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke and migraine.

This study was led by ICREA Prof. Jose A Garrido, head of the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group, Dr Anton Guimerà-Brunet, from the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC) & CIBER-BBN, and Dr Rob Wykes, from the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology (UK) & the Nanomedicine Lab of the University of Manchester (UK). First author of the paper is Dr Andrea Bonaccini Calia, a former member of Prof. Garrido’s group. This study was conducted in the frame of the EU project Graphene Flagship. It benefited from multidisciplinary collaborations and received valuable contributions from researchers at the Nanomedicine Lab of the University of Manchester (UK), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), the CIBER-BBN with the participation of its ICTS NANBIOSIS and g.tec medical engineering GmbH (Austria).

NANBIOSIS U8. Micro – Nano Technology Unit has been used for the deposit of thin layers (Polyimide) for the manufacture of flexible devices (U8-S05) and for the growth and transfer of graphene (U8-S02) in flexible device disks.

Related animation

Reference article:

Andrea Bonaccini Calia, Eduard Masvidal-Codina, Trevor M. Smith, Nathan Schäfer, Daman Rathore, Elisa Rodríguez-Lucas, Xavi Illa, Jose M. De la Cruz, Elena Del Corro, Elisabet Prats-Alfonso, Damià Viana, Jessica Bousquet, Clement Hébert, Javier Martínez-Aguilar, Justin R. Sperling, Matthew Drummond, Arnab Halder, Abbie Dodd, Katharine Barr, Sinead Savage, Jordina Fornell, Jordi Sort, Christoph Guger, Rosa Villa, Kostas Kostarelos, Rob Wykes, Anton Guimerà-Brunet, and Jose A. Garrido, Full bandwidth electrophysiology of seizures and epileptiform activity enabled by flexible graphene micro-transistor depth neural probes. Nature Nanotechnology, 2021. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-021-01041-9

For more information:

Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2)
Marketing and Communication Department
Àlex Argemí, Head of Marketing and Communication
alex.argemi@icn2.cat; +34 635 861 543


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Inkjet printing technology is driving innovation of sensors for point-of-care devices

Miguel Zea, researcher at GAB Group –  Nanbiosis U8 Micro– Nano Technology Unit  will defend hir PhD thesis on Friday 23 of July, at 11 am, at the Graus Room of the Faculty of Sciences and Biosciences of the UAB about “Inkjet printing technology is driving the innovation of sensors for point-of-care devices”

Thesis directors: Gemma Gabriel and Eloi Ramon

Further information and registration for the event, onñine, here

Abstract

The ‘Inkjet printing’ technology is called to be the next generation of flexible electronics capable of performing functions that were only accessible with state-of-the-art microfabrication technologies. This is due, in part, to the versatility of digital, non-contact patterning techniques but also to the substantial investment in research and development for inkjet printing of functional materials in recent years. Inkjet printing is an additive manufacturing technology based on the contact-less deposition of micro-droplets of a functional material with micrometer precision on the desired substrate area, through a digital design. Moreover, inkjet printing is capable of modifying the printing pattern in real time. Consequently, design changes can be introduced without any additional costs, allowing to create personalized designs with unique features. Nowadays, industrial inkjet printing has reached high standards of flexible, robust, and reliable performances.

The consensus is that inkjet printing will facilitate the production of flexible electronics in a cost-effective, on circular-economy, and reducing waste manner, enabling the development of currently unavailable wearable and disposable devices. This is the point at which Point-of-Care testing devices (PoCT) enter in the equation due to their importance in medical trails. These devices are defined as medical diagnostic testing at or near the patient. PoCT devices rely on a fast and accurate measurement based on sensors that provide the physician with a set of important data to make a diagnosis. However, major limitations of state-of-the-art PoCT devices include cost, disposability, biodegradability, and reliability. Inkjet printing technology offers solutions to address these problems where its great promises are low-cost, non-contact, rapid prototyping, material varieties, and wide range of substrates. Moreover, in the last 15 years, this technology has already shown its potential in the fabrication of reliable and quantitative sensors which form the essential components of PoCT devices. However, our understanding of the technology and its capabilities are still in a promising or potential stage, and further expertise needs to be acquired to facilitate the development of complete fully printed PoCT devices.

Identifying these problems and possible solutions, this thesis focuses on showing the potential of inkjet printing to develop sensors on flexible plastic substrates and porous paper, challenging technology to its current limit. The first part addresses the formulation, printing, and characterization of new functional inks that allow us to obtain new conductive inks to be used in the area of sensing analytes of interest. On flexible plastic, two potentiometric pH sensors have been developed. The first shows the importance of the intrinsic roughness property of a new platinum ink based on nanoparticles to provide mechanical stability to iridium oxide, a pH-sensitive material, grown electrochemically on it. For this purpose, a pH sensor was developed using the new Pt ink and the stability over a year of this iridium oxide layer was studied, which showed a clear improvement in its performance. The second pH sensor goes one step further and is, to date, the first pH sensor entirely fabricated by inkjet printing. To meet this objective, a new polymeric ink was formulated composed of a mixture of polypyrrole and pH-sensitive polyaniline. This ink was printed on a previously printed gold microelectrode and, to finally obtain a fully printed pH sensor, the fabrication was completed with a printed silver/silver chloride pseudo-reference electrode. The second part addresses the challenge of printing a sensor on a more eco-sustainable substrate such as paper, an important factor for disposable PoCs. On any paper substrate, the difficulty in printing is greater due to the porosity, delicacy, and hydrophilicity of this material. In a first work, the challenge of printing conductive functional inks such as gold or silver, and dielectric inks such as SU8 on the substrate in an efficient and easy-to-reproduce way to obtain an electrochemical sensor is addressed. The printing of a new hydrophobic ink that allows to selectively block the area of the paper where the printing of the conductive inks that make up the electrochemical sensor will be required is proposed and studied. Finally, in a second work, a cortisol immunosensor was implemented on these sensors printed on a paper substrate and its response was characterized and compared with other reported sensors, demonstrating the good performance of this technology in the detection of biological target molecules in biological samples.

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Collaboration in the CSIC White Paper “New Challenges in Biomedicine and Health”

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is publishing the White Papers of the 14 strategic themes established on the basis of their scientific impact and social importance. The pen access to the White Paper of the fifth Challenge, Brain, Mind & Behaviour, is now avaailable. The book is the result of the “CSIC Scientific Challenges: Towards 2030”, in which the institution tackles the main issues and priorities for the future. This book is coordinated by Jesús Marco de Lucas and M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas.

Drs. Rosa Villa and Anton Guimera (Biomedical Applications Group, GAB and NANBIOSIS U8 Micro– Nano Technology Unit from CIBER-BBN and IMB-CNM-CSIC) collaborate in the secoond topic of the book: “From genes and circuits to behaviours” and  Rosa Villa also has collaborated on of the eighth topic, “Brain and spinal cord damaged and rehabilitation“.

Abstract:

The last decade of the 20th century, officially designated as the Decade of the Brain, brought forth significant advances in our understanding of the biological basis that underlie brain function. Despite this notable progress, neurological and psychiatric disorders currently affect almost a third of the population, a situation that derives from our still uncomplete knowledge of basic principles ruling brain development and function. Today, we are also facing a new era of technological advances that affect our lives in profound ways and we are bound to recast our relationship with our brains. In fact, there is the prevailing view that we are on the verge of new discoveries that will challenge our concepts for self-identity and free will, the privacy of our thoughts, the origins of social behavior or the inner workings of a diseased brain. To accelerate the pace of discoveries in Neurosciences able to prevent and treat mental affections and contribute to reshape the landscapes of other fields, from psychology to economics, education and the law, we need seamless flow of information between neurobiology and other areas of science that provide different but complementary perspectives and research expertise. Given the multidisciplinary wealth of the CSIC and the privileged position of Spanish neuroscience, we are in an optimal position to make a qualitative leap in understanding the mechanisms that control brain activity and be able to turn it into useful knowledge for building a healthier, more responsible society.

CSIC White Papers

What are the major scientific challenges of the first half of the 21st century? Can we establish the priorities for the future? How should the scientific community tackle them? This book presents the reflections of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) on 14 strategic themes established on the basis of their scientific impact and social importance.

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Collaboration in the CSIC White Paper “New Challenges in Biomedicine and Health”

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is publishing the White Papers of the 14 strategic themes established on the basis of their scientific impact and social importance. The pen access to the White Paper of the fourth Challenge, New Challenges in Biomedicine and Health, is now avaailable. The book is the result of the “CSIC Scientific Challenges: Towards 2030”, in which the institution tackles the main issues and priorities for the future. This book is coordinated by Mario Delgado (Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina “López – Neyra”, Granada) and María Moros (Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón, Zaragoza).

Drs. Rosa Villa (Biomedical Applications Group, GAB and NANBIOSIS U8 Micro– Nano Technology Unit from CIBER-BBN and IMB-CNM-CSIC) collaborate in the eighth topic of the book: “New methods for diagnostic tools and prevention” and  is also a part of the seventh topic, “Advanced therapies“.

New methods for diagnostic tools and prevention” is a highly interdisciplinary area, with a wide range in areas of research, methodologies and applications. It consists on contributions according to imaging modality for diagnostics, detection/screening methods, and prevention and personalised treatments.

The chapter mentions GAB efforts to develop biocompatible and biodegradable implants for neurological applica-tions, and wearable devices (implants and external) for the real time and continuous monitoring, and early diagnosis for in vivo applications. .

As for Organ-on-chips, it contains GAB‘s research in 3D microfluidics and sensors integration to simulate organ and tissuspecific micro-environments. These systems are applied for toxicological stud-ies and personalized medicine and represent a clear alternative to minimize animal experimentation.

In “Advanced therapies” the research in instrumentation for proton tomography and proton-range verification using prompt gamma rays is highly studied.

Biomedicine and Health

A lesson learnt from the pandemia caused by coronavirus is that solutions in health require coordinated actions. Beside this and other (re)emerging infectious diseases, Spain and Europe are suffering a plethora of disorders that are currently acquiring epidemic dimensions, including cancer, rare diseases, pain and food allergies, among others. New tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment need to be urgently designed and implemented using new holistic and multidisciplinary approaches involving researchers, clinicians, industry and all stakeholders in the health system.

CSIC White Papers

What are the major scientific challenges of the first half of the 21st century? Can we establish the priorities for the future? How should the scientific community tackle them? This book presents the reflections of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) on 14 strategic themes established on the basis of their scientific impact and social importance.

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First Dresselhaus Prize of the SCN2 to María Jesús Ortiz

María Jesús Ortiz i Aguayo, graduate in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), has been the winner of the First Dresselhaus Prize, organized by the Catalan Society of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (SCN2), of the 2020 edition.

The award recognizes the work “Development of a pH microsensor for the determination of hydrogen sulfide based on Inkjet Printing“, supervised by Maria del Mar Baeza Labat (UAB) and Gemma Gabriel Buguña, from the Biomedical Applications Group GAB and NANBIOSIS U8 Micro– Nano Technology Unit from CIBER-BBN and IMB-CNM-CSIC
The student also did her TFG with Dra. Gemma Gabriel at the IMB-CNM.

The second edition of the SCN² Dresselhaus Awards, convened in September 2020 and held during the third wave of COVID-19 in Catalonia, closed on April 19, 2021 with the publication of the three winners this year. Only up to three paid awards and up to three mentions are awarded for high quality work according to the Jury evaluation, this year there have been no special mentions. The awards recognize the excellence of nanoscience work.

Further information here

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New organ-on-chip models provide new information for targeted treatments in personalised medicine

Xavi Illa, Gemma Gabriel, Mar Alvarez and Rosa Villa, researchers of NANBIOSIS ICTS U8 Micro– Nano Technology Unit (from CIBER-BBN and the IMB-CNM-CSIC). are co-authors of two reviews that summarise the latest efforts in organ-on-chip technologies to emulate in vitro microfluidic systems. These devices are an opportunity to evolve the fields of biofabrication and sensing technology.

Organ-on-chip (OOC) technology has been an efficient tool in modern research to substitute laboratory mice and simulate tissue and organ-level physiology and function. In particular, these in vitro devices have been extensively applied to model the intestine, enhancing the research community’s knowledge about intestinal physiology and pathophysiology in order to develop targeted therapies for a more precise and personalised treatment of intestinal diseases.

Now, a review published in Biosensors & Bioelectronics signed by researchers of NANBIOSIS ICTS U8 Micro– Nano Technology Unit, collects information about the intestine models and highlights the necessity to integrate sensors into these in vitro models to shine light on the pathological mechanisms of intestinal disorders at their early stage. The detection of a disease at its early state would allow more efficient treatments and a better prognosis, reducing costs and enhancing the quality of life of the patients.

Last years’ research has had a significant impact in these complex microfluidic systems, though there is still a long way to go to increase biosensors capacity in their operations.

The potential of the OOC technology is enormous. OOC technology may provide a true precision medicine, allowing the use of the patients’ own cells for performing drugs screening before treating the patient“, -explains Mar Álvarez– “To that end, we believe that the integration of sensors into this platforms is mandatory to understand and evaluate the functioning of the organ in real time, providing information that may be used for in-situ decision making”.

Hydrogel microfluidic platforms to improve the predictive capacities of the in vitro models

Another review article published by theese researchers in Applied Materials & Interfaces tackles the progress made in tissue barrier models, as they have a crucial role in regulating organ homeostasis. Current microfluidic systems do not properly mimic cells’ interaction, so recent developments have included biomaterials, such as hydrogels, to emulate these boundaries between tissues and external environment. A hydrogel acts as a microenvironment of the cell and it permits cell culture.

The hydrogel mimics the real cell microenvironment, providing the mechanical cues needed to reproduce the proper organ physiology and function“, Mar Álvarez adds.

Recent developments in the fields of biofabrication show that hydrogels are able to mimic and change the tissue properties and dynamics, thus enabling an in vivo recreation for its reparation.

Articles of reference

Marrero D, Pujol-Vila F, Vera D, Gabriel G, Illa X,  Elizalde-Torrent A, Alvarez M, Villa R, Gut-on-a-chip: Mimicking and monitoring the human intestine. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. Volume 181, 1 June 2021, 113156. DOI https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c21573

Vera D, García-Díaz M, Torras N, Alvarez M, Villa R, Martínez E. Engineering Tissue Barrier Models on Hydrogel Microfluidic Platforms, CS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 12, 13920–13933 DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2021.113156

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Modulation of intercolumnar synchronization by endogenous electric fields in cerebral cortex with neuroprobes by NANBIOSIS unit 8

The collaboration of NANBIOSIS U8 Micro–Nano Technology Unit of the CIBER in Bioengineering, Biomaterials & Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) at the IMB-CNM in the research carried out by scientist of Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Université Paris-Saclay, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and ICREA has bien acknowledged in the publication of the results by Science Advances. Rosa Villa and Xavi Illa have been in charge of the fabrication of the probes used, more specifically, neuroprobes were designed and manufactured with 16 Ti / Au microelectrodes (20 / 200nm) on flexible polyimide substrates with open areas to improve neuronal tissue viability according to specifications.

Abstract

Neurons synaptically interacting in a conductive medium generate extracellular endogenous electric fields (EFs) that reciprocally affect membrane potential. Exogenous EFs modulate neuronal activity, and their clinical applications are being profusely explored. However, whether endogenous EFs contribute to network synchronization remains unclear. We analyzed spontaneously generated slow-wave activity in the cerebral cortex network in vitro, which allowed us to distinguish synaptic from nonsynaptic mechanisms of activity propagation and synchronization. Slow oscillations generated EFs that propagated independently of synaptic transmission. We demonstrate that cortical oscillations modulate spontaneous rhythmic activity of neighboring synaptically disconnected cortical columns if layers are aligned. We provide experimental evidence that these EF-mediated effects are compatible with electric dipoles. With a model of interacting dipoles, we reproduce the experimental measurements and predict that endogenous EF–mediated synchronizing effects should be relevant in the brain. Thus, experiments and models suggest that electric-dipole interactions contribute to synchronization of neighboring cortical columns.

Article of refrence:

Modulation of intercolumnar synchronization by endogenous electric fields in cerebral cortex. Beatriz Rebollo, Bartosz Telenczuk,  Alvaro Navarro-Guzman,  Alain Destexhe and Maria V. Sanchez-Vives Science Advances  03 Mar 2021: Vol. 7, no. 10, eabc7772 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc7772

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