These materials can be functionalized with biocompatible molecules to interact directly with cellular surfaces in a nontoxic manner.

About

Abstract:

These materials can be functionalized with biocompatible molecules to interact directly with cellular surfaces in a nontoxic manner. The overall hybrid material allows for the delivery of an electric field to the final target with control of field strength, and field pulse time, as well as detection of endogenous signals in the cells.

 

Background

The rapid expansion of nanoscience has resulted in the development of many new materials which are increasingly used for biochemical and biomedical purposes.  The induction and detection of signals in electrically active cells (most commonly neurons and myocytes) in living tissues is a crucial tool in the study and control of such cells. Biocompatible materials capable of interfacing with such cells are essential for the realization of highly engineered cell-material interactions. Aside from being important for fundamental cellular studies, these materials also have potential roles in clinical applications such as sensors or effectors of heart function, as well as brain-controlled prosthetics. Current methods used to interface with electrically active cells suffer from fundamental deficiencies, for instance in the delivery and stimulation of light-sensitive proteins in optogenetic approaches, or in geometric and chemical characteristics of metallic electrodes. Thus, there is a present need for methods that overcome these limitations while providing materials that are responsive and nontoxic.

 

Description

Researchers from the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and University of Oxford have developed new hybrid materials for biochemical applications. These materials can be functionalized with biocompatible molecules to interact directly with cellular surfaces in a nontoxic manner. The overall hybrid material allows for the delivery of an electric field to the final target with control of field strength, and field pulse time, as well as detection of endogenous signals in the cells. 

 

Advantages


Hybrid materials for biochemical applications
Links peptides (adhesion molecules, antibodies), enzymes, and any other proteins of interest
Materials can be used to modify or detect local electric fields
Interacts directly with cell surfaces in a nontoxic manner
Applications in electrode-tissue interfaces, optical and optoelectronic devices, sensors, and many more


 

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