Surgery News

New micronail chip to enable electronics and biological cells communicate with each other

March 01, 2016

"We tackled several challenges to realize this micronail chip such as keeping the cells alive on the chip surface; combining the wet cell solution with the electronics underneath without destroying the electronics; guiding the cell growth so that the cell body is just on top of one individual electrode; and last but not least: bring the cells as close as possible to the chip surface. Now, we have a unique instrument to record and interpret the signals of the neurons. We can also stimulate neurons and follow up the consequences to unravel the functioning of our brain;" said Wolfgang Eberle, Group manager Bioelectronic systems.

Kris Verstreken, Director Bio-Nanoelectronics: "Little is known about the functioning of our brain. Where do emotions origin? How do we build up memories? Or what is the cause of brain diseases such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease? Many processes in our brain are unknown. Neurons are very plastic cells, continuously forming new connections and breaking up or rebuilding new ones. But how do they do that? And which are the consequences for learning and development? On the long term, we can use the knowledge that we build up with in vitro experiments on our micronail chip to diagnose diseases, or even develop therapies, by stimulating cells, or building new communication bridges between cells after a brain infarction."

Source IMEC