Nanotech 2010

Neuronal interactions with patterned surfaces, nanofab methods interacting with bio entities (invited presentation)

J. Williams
University of Wisconsin-Madison, US

Keywords: Lab-on-a-chip, microfluidics, biological systems

Abstract:

Studying how individual neuronal cells grow and interact with each other is of fundamental importance for understanding the functions of the nervous system. However, the mechanism of axonal navigation to their target region and their specific interactions with guidance factors such as membrane-bound proteins, chemical and temperature gradients, mechanical guidance cues, etc. is not well understood. Lab-on-a-chip microfluidic technology has emerged as a powerful tool for studying biological systems. For example, unlike the standard macro-scale systems used for decades, microfluidics allows the micro-environment of a neuronal cell in culture to be finely regulated. The reduction in the feature sizes gives control over fluid phenomena such as laminar flow, shear stresses, and velocity profiles. In addition, these microfluidic channels can be easily integrated with silicon based electronics, which leads to both a significant increase in neural activity detection sensitivity and a simplification of many experimental setups. In this talk we describe a variety of approaches for controlling the adhesion, growth and interconnectivity of neurons in culture. We also present a number of new and very promising approaches for studying neuronal cells, which integrate microfluidic systems with microelectronics and micro-protein patterning. Finally, we will discuss the development of various microfluidic and micropatterning approaches for controlling the local microenvironment of neural cells in micro-culture devices.
 
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