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Communicating Vesicles

Project description

Engineering responsive vesicles inspired by nature for nanotechnological applications

Cells are complex factories producing, transporting and exporting or importing "products" in virtually unlimited signal processing and communication cascades. Given the compartmentalisation via membranes both within and between cells, many of these pathways also rely on the movement of substances across membranes in various ways. This includes opening of pores, active transport against concentration gradients via miniature transmembrane machines or even fusion of vesicle membranes with other membranes to expel or inject vesicular cargo to the other side. The EU-funded CoVes project is developing an experimental platform to study these processes, enabling the creation of vesicles able to store and transfer information using stimuli and leading to bio-inspired nanotechnology.


Networks constituted from single components able to communicate with each other in a controlled manner are at the basis of every phenomenon occurring in the world around us. Understanding and controlling information transmission processes represents one of the greatest challenges for modern scientists. I propose to develop an understanding of the working principles of complex information processing networks by using an artificial system that resembles Nature’s cell-based communication systems. Inspired by the cascade processes occurring in Nature such as the second messenger system and extracellular messenger release, “CoVes” will be based on responsive Vesicles able to Communicate in a specific and targeted manner due to different input signals. Vesicles will be equipped with a series of synthetic transducers that respond to orthogonal external chemical stimuli. Transmembrane signalling will be coupled with internal chemical messenger release leading to communication between vesicles in an information network. The working principles of the novel multi-component ensembles will be investigated leading to systems capable of transmitting information under different diffusion conditions and paving the way for novel communication mechanisms. The accurate and reliable prediction of communication processes will lead to vesicle ensembles able to store and transfer information using orthogonal stimuli which will be crucial for the development of bio-inspired nanotechnology, such as interfaces for communication with cellular systems. The accomplishments achieved through CoVes will make chemistry not only the science of matter transformation, but also the science of information storage, elaboration and transfer.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 212 933,76