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DEEP BRAIN PHOTONIC TOOLS FOR CELL-TYPE SPECIFIC TARGETING OF NEURAL DISEASES

Project description

Innovative tools for the analysis of the deep brain

Our understanding of the aetiology and functional changes of brain diseases is restricted by the inaccessibility of the brain. To address existing technological limitations, the EU-funded DEEPER project proposes to generate tools for imaging and manipulating neuronal activity in the deep brain. The tools under development include high-efficiency molecular sensors, probes for cell monitoring, microscopes and microendoscopes that offer unprecedented resolution, sensitivity and depth of focus. DEEPER will provide insight into the molecular and cellular dysfunctions associated with specific neurological and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer's disease.

Objective

While brain disorders have different etiology and stem from distinct molecular and cellular dysfunctions, due to limitation in current technology they all share an incomplete understanding of the anatomical and functional alterations occurring in hard-to-access deep regions of the brain. DEEPER aims at tackling this fundamental challenge by developing an entire new class of photonic tools for imaging and manipulating neuronal activity in the deep brain with unprecedented penetration depth, resolution, sensitivity, specificity and depth of focus. Technology development in DEEPER will be driven by medical expertise and market requirements and it will be organized in three pillars focusing on: i) novel high-efficiency molecular sensors and actuators; ii) minimally invasive probes for monitoring and perturbing large populations of cells; iii) next generation multiphoton microscopes and microendoscopes. In a fourth pillar, this technological platform will enable a number of clinically relevant experiments which will contribute to reveal the molecular and cellular dysfunctions underlying the pathogenesis of specific neurological (addiction, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease) and psychiatric disorders (depression, schizophrenia, and autism). By shedding new light on the pathogenesis of disorders, which dramatically touch the lives of millions, DEEPER has the potential to profoundly impact our society. Moreover, in DEEPER technologists, neuroscientists, clinical and pre-clinical experts will bring the results from laboratory research to market supported by the SMEs in the consortium and by the companies and experts in the advisory board. This will make the translation and exploitation of the DEEPER technologies fast and effective, building a value chain with strong translational appeal that will strengthen Europe’s industrial position in the biophotonics market for optical neural interfaces, microscopy, and microendoscopy.

Call for proposal

H2020-ICT-2018-20

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Sub call

H2020-ICT-2020-2

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Coordinator

FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA
Net EU contribution
€ 1 241 237,50
Address
Via morego 30
16163 Genova
Italy

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Region
Nord-Ovest Liguria Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (11)