Abstract Title

Electrically Controlling the Environmental Interactions of Neurons Cultured on Graphene

Disciplines

Biomedical | Electrical and Computer Engineering

Abstract

In neural interfaces, a major challenge is finding an electronic material that will be accepted by the human body. Currently, electrode arrays are often made from silicon, but graphene seems to be a better material for humans due to its biocompatibility and flexibility. However, it is unknown how neural cells react to being electrically stimulated on graphene. For this work, we will observe the interactions between graphene electrodes and cultured neural stem cells using a probe station specially designed for electrophysiology. The cells are kept in a salt solution contained in a 3D printed reservoir. This is mounted on top of a graphene sample and is attached to a fluidic system consisting of two pump controllers that refresh the solution at a small rate, thus keeping the cells alive for several hours. This also allows us to introduce different salt concentrations and/or chemicals that modify the cellular environment, and thus the interactions with the graphene. The cells must be kept at a temperature of 37°C, which is achieved by using a heating pad attached to a chuck. Currently, we have the pump controllers working and have been able to control them using a computer.

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Electrically Controlling the Environmental Interactions of Neurons Cultured on Graphene

In neural interfaces, a major challenge is finding an electronic material that will be accepted by the human body. Currently, electrode arrays are often made from silicon, but graphene seems to be a better material for humans due to its biocompatibility and flexibility. However, it is unknown how neural cells react to being electrically stimulated on graphene. For this work, we will observe the interactions between graphene electrodes and cultured neural stem cells using a probe station specially designed for electrophysiology. The cells are kept in a salt solution contained in a 3D printed reservoir. This is mounted on top of a graphene sample and is attached to a fluidic system consisting of two pump controllers that refresh the solution at a small rate, thus keeping the cells alive for several hours. This also allows us to introduce different salt concentrations and/or chemicals that modify the cellular environment, and thus the interactions with the graphene. The cells must be kept at a temperature of 37°C, which is achieved by using a heating pad attached to a chuck. Currently, we have the pump controllers working and have been able to control them using a computer.