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Communication Theoretical Foundations of Nervous System Towards BIO-inspired Nanonetworks and ICT-inspired Neuro-treatment

Final Report Summary - MINERVA (Communication Theoretical Foundations of Nervous System Towards BIO-inspired Nanonetworks and ICT-inspired Neuro-treatment)

The main objective of the Project MINERVA was to understand the fundamentals of the nervous system through exploiting the elegant theories and tools of information and communication technology (ICT), to ultimately enable the development of ICT-inspired next-generation systems and solutions for diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders caused by communication failures in the nervous nanonetwork. Fundamental research was deemed to be necessary towards the ambitious goals of the Project, which are the extraction of foundations of nanoscale neuro-spike communication channels and nervous nanonetwork, design of a nervous nanonetwork simulator, and design and implementation of a nanoscale bio-inspired communication system for ICT-inspired treatment of neural diseases. The following major achievements of the Project MINERVA should be highlighted:
- Existing channel models in the literature for synaptic transmission have been radically extended by considering stochasticity in action potential shape, vesicle release process, synaptic communication and spike generation in SISO and MISO neuronal channels.
- The impact of long-term plasticity and correlation among inputs on the information transmission over MISO neuro-spike communication channels have been studied for the first time in the literature.
- The fundamentals of synaptic interference channels have been revealed.
- First guidelines have been provided for selecting the system parameters in artificial bio-inspired neuronal nanonetworks according to the requirements of different applications.
- ICT-based treatment methods have been proposed for spinal cord injury (SCI): First, a closed loop neural interface system is proposed to rout the signals from the brain to the limbs to re-achieve the movement and controlling the action of limbs. Second, design and use of artificial neurons to replace the injured or dead neurons is studied.
- A queueing theory-based approach has been applied for the first time to model nervous nanonetworks.
- Insulin-glucose system has been modelled from ICT-perspective for the first time in the literature.
- Controlled information transfer through a nervous system-based channel has been achieved for the first time. It is also the first example of a macro-to-nano scale communication using biological nanonetworks in multicellular animals and among the very few examples of experimental molecular communications (MC).
- An exhaustive neural network simulator N4Sim, the first of its kind to account for molecular mechanisms involved in synaptic communications between neurons, has been developed. N4Sim incorporates complex effects introduced by the stochastic nature of molecular communications with minimal sacrifice in computational cost and complexity, managing to be fast and light enough to be able to run very large networks over a single workstation’s computing resources.
- Novel bio-inspired and low-complexity detection and channel sensing techniques have been developed for biological MC receivers with ligand receptors exploiting the bound and unbound time durations of receptors.
- Novel micro/nanoscale transmitter and receiver architectures have been proposed based on new nanomaterials, e.g. graphene, SiNW. The first communication theoretical models for nanoscale SiNW FET-based MC receivers in microfluidic MC channels have been developed.
- The first practical graphene-based micro/nanoscale MC transmitter and receiver have been implemented as the electrical-to-molecular and molecular-to-electrical transducers of the first MC-based artificial synapse.

Other important accomplishments of the Project concern the first practical implementation of nanoscale wireless high-rate data transfer between fluorescent molecules based on Forster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), introduction of a novel framework named the Internet of Molecular Things (IoMT) defining the networks of molecular-scale devices within the conventional Internet, development of an analytical framework which extracts the fundamentals limits on multiuser molecular communications, and the development of the first DNA-based molecular communication framework along with new modulation and detection techniques.