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Compact self-wired cultured neural networks

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Kalin Dragnevski.

Interfacing biological systems with artificial substrates is of great importance for various applications such as bio-sensing and the investigation of cultured neuronal networks. Accordingly, many methods were developed to control and to study the interaction between cells and surfaces. Vast majority of these approaches consist of chemical modification. A newly proposed approach to form a controlled interface consists of surface texture at the scale of several nanometers to micrometers. Such surfaces affect the attachment of certain cells to the surface and can be used as a mechanism to position cells at particular areas on a substrate. Clearly, the recent advances in nanotechnology offer a unique opportunity to seek nano-topographical surfaces that may allow exciting advantages over existing technologies such as simplified fabrication processes and improved biocompatibility. These surfaces are studied by various groups with the aim to expand contemporary tools beyond the conventional semi-conductor micro-fabrication technology.

In the past several years we have developed a new method for neuronal cell patterning using nano topography realized by islands of high density fabrics made of carbon nanotubes (CNT). Carbon nanotube coated surfaces are biocompatible, and are excellent surfaces for cell growth and thus are excellent candidates to be used to interface man-made substrates with biological systems. Photo-lithography and carbon nanotube chemical vapor deposition techniques were used to realize carbon nanotube based electrodes with excellent recording capabilities. Neurons self-organize on these lithographically defined templates to form interconnected networks with pre-designed geometry and graph connectivity. Our novel approach enables to precisely engineer the geometry as well as the connectivity properties of real neural networks, thus paves the way for a wide variety of composite bio-networks.

1.Tamir Gabay, Eyal Jakobs, Eshel Ben-Jacob, and Yael Hanein, Engineered self-organization of neural networks using CNT clusters, Physica A, 350, pp 611-621, 2005.

2.R. Sorkin, T. Gabay, P. Blinder, D. Baranes, E. Ben-Jacob and Y. Hanein, Compact self-wiring in cultured neural networks, Journal of neural engineering, 3, pp 1-7, 2006.

This talk is part of the BSS Formal Seminars series.

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