INterfacing CArbon-based NAnomaterials to neurons:.. (INCA-NANEP)
INterfacing CArbon-based NAnomaterials to neurons: toward new horizons in cellular NEuroProsthetics
Start date: Nov 1, 2013,
End date: Oct 31, 2015
Neuroengineering is a growing area of Neurosciences, aimed at repairing, replacing and enhancing the function of damaged neuronal tissue. However, devices designed to interface the Central Nervous System (CNS) faces substantial clinical challenges, resulting from the CNS unique anatomy and physiology. Today, exciting perspectives are represented by reconstructive/repairing strategies, providing a functional bridge through the damaged tissue and restoring functions via implantable assisting devices.Lately, C-based nanomaterials, such as Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) and Nanocrystalline Diamond (NCD) thin-films raised a lot of interest as the most promising materials in the building of nanoelectrodes and substrates for cell growth. Among their well-known properties (thermal, chemical, electrical), their in vivo stability and biocompatibility were explored and demonstrated.This project aims at studying the interactions occurring between these C-based nanomaterials and neurons, focusing on a significant step forward in the domain of neuroprosthetic materials, ultimately relevant to cognitive and regeneration/repair applications.The study of biological, electrophysiological and biophysical processes occurring at the interface between nanomaterials and neuronal systems is in fact intended to provide a solid foundation for generating novel biochips and cellular-level neuroprosthetic devices, ultimately designed to help repair damaged CNS tissues, and to build novel brain-machine interfaces. Such a research domain of Neurosciences, at the overlap between nanotechnology, physics and neurobiology, is not only offering today new exciting opportunities for better healthcare and nano-biotechnological applications, but it is also aimed to advance our basic understanding of the (dys)functional brains, through the use of C-based nanomaterials as novel tools for fundamental research, and ultimately leading to a new generation of nanomedicine and prosthetic applications in neurology.
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