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H2020 ERC - Proof of Concept Grant 2019-2021

MAssive intracellular REcording for Pharmacology

Abstract: Due to the vital role of the heart, cardiac safety assessment has become one of the major gatekeepers in all stages of the drug development process, increasing costs and resources required for new drugs. Despite the recent advancements of the Comprehensive In vitro ProArrhythmia (CiPA) initiative, there are still important obstacles related to chronic cardiotoxicities and to unreliable cell models. Thus, there is a strong need for new solutions that can improve the efficacy of drug development processes. The MAREP project aims at tackling this problem by demonstrating a novel automated system for the comprehensive pharmacologic investigation of drug effects on in-vitro cardiac cell cultures. The novel approach combines laser excitation of novel metamaterials with high density multielectrode arrays (HD-MEA), providing high quality and high throughput recording of cardiac cells activity and offering an unprecedented and affordable method for the global study of drug effects on the heart. The outcome of the project is the prototype of a system that combines electrical recording of action potentials of thousands of cardiac cells with laser-based cell poration and intracellular recording. In essence, cardiac cells can be investigated in physiological conditions while drugs are administered and their effects studied in details on a large and reliable biological sample. The MAREP technology will boost the development of new drugs through the establishment of a novel, affordable, cost-effective and automated experimental procedure. This project intends to exploit a research innovation born, though not exploited, in the parent ERC project Neuro-plasmonics. This innovation may bring the laser-based bio-nanotechnologies developed in Neuro-plasmonics closer to commercialization by introducing a novel interface that is fully compatible with standard CMOS technology and with large scale production

Total budget: 150000.0€

Total contribution: 150000.0€


FP7 ERC - Consolidator Grant 2014-2018

Neuro-Plasmonics- Neuro-Plasmonics

Abstract: Research neuronal signaling is the subject of a very large community, but progresses face a dense multi-scale dynamics involving signaling at the molecular, cellular and large neuronal network levels. Whereas the brain capabilities are most likely emerging from large neuronal networks, available electrophysiological methods limit our access to single cells and typically provides only a fragmented observation, on limited spatial/temporal scales. Therefore, broadening the spectrum of scales for observing neuronal signaling within large neuronal networks is a major challenge that can revolutionize our capability of studying the brain and its physio-pathological functions, as well as of deriving bio-inspired concepts to implement artificial system based on neuronal circuits. We propose the development of an innovative electro-plasmonic multifunctional platform that by combining different methodologies emerging from distant fields of Science and Technology will provide a radically new path for real time neurointerfacing at different scale levels: 1. The molecular scale: 3D plasmonic nanoantennas will give access to information at molecular level by means of enhanced spectroscopies with particular regard of time resolved Raman scattering. 2. The single-neuron scale within neuronal networks: by both in-cell and extra-cell couplings with 3D nanostructures which work at the same time as plasmonic antennas and CMOS 3D nanoelectrodes. 3. The scale of large neuronal networks: by CMOS high-density electrode arrays for spatially and temporally resolving neuronal signaling form thousands of measuring sites. This is achieved by exploiting an innovative nanofabrication method able to realize 3D nanostructures which can work at the same time as plasmonic nanoantennas and as nanoelectrodes. These structures will be integrated on CMOS multi-electrode arrays designed to manage multiscale measurements from the molecular level up to network level on several thousand of measurement sites.

Total budget: 1360129.73€

Total contribution: 1360129.73€

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