Innovations in Electrophysiology



Ionic Neuromodulation For Epilepsy Treatment
2020 to 2023

The aim of IN-FET (Ionic Neuromodulation For Epilepsy Treatment) is to develop and test in vitro the use of active polymers to trap or release specific ions in the extracellular milieu surrounding neurons. With the help of MCS, these active polymers will be integrated with ion sensors and ultra-sensitive nanowire arrays, offering closed-loop regulation of cellular electrical activity. The project will culminate in a device that can for the first time physiologically modulate the neuronal membrane potential, the synaptic release probability, and glutamatergic NMDA receptor activation by altering potassium, calcium, and magnesium concentrations in a controlled and spatially confined manner. Vertical nanowire transistors, which penetrate the cell membrane, will be used to detect the cells’ electrical activity at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. IN-FET's multidisciplinary consortium brings together state-of-the-art electrochemistry, 3D nanofabrication, nanoelectronics, and numerical simulations, and combines neuronal biophysics to device modeling. IN-FET will thus establish the proof-of-principle for a breakthrough biocompatible neuromodulation technology, with a clear impact for future brain implants for epilepsy treatment, advancing neuroscience, biomedical microsystems engineering, and nano-neurotechnology.

Main project partners: 
International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste; University of Geneva; IBM Research GmbH, Rueschlikon; University Of Sheffield; National Interuniversity Consortium for Nanoelectronics (IU.NET), Bologna