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Exploring Cellular Dynamics at Nanoscale (EXCELL)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 31 Dec 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

EXCELL is a novel innovative approach to explore interaction mechanisms between biological materials and systems/nanostructures. It involves a forward-looking cross-disciplinary and design-based research to generate an integrated, biologically inspired technological platform of high complexity, able to monitor cell dynamics at nano-scale. Expertise in cellular and molecular biology, nanosciences, material engineering, biophysics, biotechnology, modelling, and analytical chemistry, are combined to address the targeted goals, which go beyond the state of the art methods used in traditional biotechnology and systems biology. EXCELL will provide a complete Lab-in-a-Cell (LIC) sensor and actuator platform, which is capable of: (1) studying single cells in their natural environment surrounded by other cells or a complex mixture of different cells/tissue, (2) following the dynamics and interdependence of single cell processes from gene, protein, metabolite to compound secretion, exocytosis and cell-to-cell communication, (3) testing how and where various stimuli affect the different levels of the molecular machinery and finally (4) programming cells to be able to differentiate into a particular phenotype. A major task is the design of suitable biocompatible nano/bio interfaces that ensures a sustainable cellular environment. EXCELL provides a unique opportunity for developing advanced, novel experimental tools to address fundamental problems of stem cell research and poses a potential for possible diversification and modulation of developmental programs of stem cells to differentiate them into specific phenotypes. EXCELL has the capacity to drive new discoveries having a significant impact not only in the field of stem cell research and clinical use, but also on molecular engineering, nanosciences, sensor development, diagnostics, therapeutics, biotechnology and industry (smart materials, medical diagnostics, pharmaceutical companies, start-ups)
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