Integration of Living Cells with Silicon Microstructures for MEMS Applications

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For many years biological and silicon-based structures were considered incompatible because of the difficulties to engineer an effective interface connecting the two systems. Recent developments in surface chemistry, bioengineering and cell biology enabled the creation of extracellular clues to guide the attachment and growth of cells on silicon structures. We have developed a photolithography-based method, which is compatible with standard silicon manufacturing steps, to pattern self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on glass or silicon substrates to guide neuron attachment, axonal growth and differentiation. We have optimized the conditions necessary to create two-cell and multiple-cell engineered networks with directed synaptic connectivity from dissociated hippocampal cells. We have used dual patch clamp recordings for the functional characterization of these engineered networks. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of our method to create functional cellular networks on silicon microstructures we have registered the surface patterns with substrate embedded micro electrodes to allow long-term recording of activity of the cells or electrical stimulation. Moreover, based on photolithographic patterning of vitronectin as the growth substrate we have developed a method to create functional skeletal muscle myotubes on the top of microelectrode arrays or AFM cantilevers. These hybrid biological/silicon-based systems can find applications in functional pharmacological screening, toxin detection, as disease models or in robotics. Funded by NIH grant K01 EB003465-03

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 2
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 737 - 740
Industry sector: Medical & Biotech
Topic: Biomaterials
ISBN: 1-4200-6183-6