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H2020 ERC - Starting Grant 2019-2024

Light INduced Cell control by Exogenous organic semiconductors

Abstract: LINCE develops light-sensitive devices based on novel functional materials for optical regulation of living cells functions. The possibility to control the activity of biological systems is a timeless mission for neuroscientists, since it allows both to understand specific functions and to manage dysfunctions. Optical modulation provides, respect to traditional electrical methods, unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution, lower invasiveness, and higher selectivity. However, the vast majority of animal cells does not bear specific sensitivity to light. Search for new materials capable to optically regulate cell activity is thus an extremely hot topic. LINCE will focus on organic semiconductors as ideal candidates, since they are inherently sensitive to visible light and highly biocompatible, sustain both ionic and electronic conduction, can be functionalized with biomolecules and drugs. The application of organic semiconductors in biotechnology will be significantly broadened, to address key, open issues of high biological relevance, in both neuroscience and regenerative medicine. In particular, LINCE develops new devices for: (i) regulation of astrocytes functions, active in many fundamental processes of the central nervous system and in pathological disorders; (ii) control of stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration; (iii) control of animal behavior, to first assess device biocompatibility and efficacy in vivo. LINCE tools are sensitive to visible and NIR light, flexible, biocompatible, and easily integrated with any standard physiology set-up. They combine electrical, chemical and thermal stimuli, offering high spatio-temporal resolution, reversibility, specificity and yield. The combination of all these features is not achievable by current technologies. Overall, LINCE will provide neuroscientists and medical doctors with an unprecedented tool-box for in vitro and in vivo investigations.

Total budget: 1866250.0€

Total contribution: 1866250.0€

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