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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R65589/01
Title: Talking with Nerve Cells: Developing Communication Between Living Vertebrate Neurons and Electronic Systems
Principal Investigator: Murray, Professor AF
Other Investigators:
Walton, Professor AJ Stevenson, Professor JTM MacLeod, Dr N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Mr A Gundlach Dr M Hunter
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 August 2002 Ends: 31 December 2005 Value (£): 456,977
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioelectronic Devices Biomedical neuroscience
Cells New & Emerging Comp. Paradigms
VLSI Design
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Electronics
Related Grants:
GR/R65602/01 GR/R65596/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Two different techniques for providing in vivo neuron/electronic communication will be assessed. One (Glasgow) entails growing small vertebrate neuron assemblies on a prepared silica substrate that carries positioning cues on the surface. Connection to cells is through a microfabricated electrode array made in a flexible polymer lowered on to the cell assembly. The other (Edinburgh) involves growing the neuron assembly on a micromachined silicon wafer. This wafer has holes (of 1-2 micron diameter) through it and these holes are used as miniature patch clamp electrodes. Initially, a single hole will be used and once this technique is established, a multiple (16 x 16 or 64 x 64) array will be investigated. These two verydifferent techniques will be assayed for reliability, longevity and effectiveness of communication, using a number of different excitable vertebrate cells, especially nodose ganglia and hippocampal cells. Electrical signals will be injected into the neuron assemblies, and the resultant outputs analysed to discover the information processing activities of the cell assembly. Recordings will also be made of spontaneous activities when available. In both cases very long term recordings (7-20 days) are envisaged so that long term changes, perhaps due to training, will be detectable.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ed.ac.uk