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Disruptive materials, technologies & approaches to unravel the role of Astrocytes in brain function and dysfunction: towards to Glial interfaces

Project description

Emerging technologies to unveil the role of astrocytes in brain physiology and pathology

Accumulating evidence indicates that astrocytes play an important role in brain function. However, scientists lack the appropriate technology to study these cells and unveil their implication in disease. To address this problem, the EU-funded ASTROTECH project will develop tools for recording and manipulating astrocytes, ex vivo, in silico and in pathological models of epilepsy, glioma and depression, including biomaterials and nanostructures for studying these cells in vitro. The project will also train early-stage researchers in biomaterial science, photonics, electronics alongside optogenetics, neuroscience, glial physiology and biology. Collectively, the project's results and activities will provide a more complete understanding of brain health and disorders and fuel future astrocyte research.


The past four decades demonstrated that non-neuronal cells, called astrocytesare emerging as crucial players for brain function & dysfunction. A major obstacle of previous and current initiatives on Neurotechnologiesis a lack of focus on astrocytesand most of the tools used to probe and sense astrocytes are derived from those developed to study neurons. ASTROTECH will create and develop the field of Glial Engineering, to provide a consistent range of tools to record, study, and manipulate astrocytes in the healthy and diseased brain. ASTROTECH will train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) on research, training and complimentary skills aiming at: engineering biomaterials and nanostructured interfaces to provide in vivo-like in vitro models for controlled & reliable studies of astrocytes in vitro; fabrication and characterization of nanostructured devices for stimulation, recording and biosensing of astrocytes; optogenetics tools, optoelectronic device &photonic methods for precice and cell selective stimulation of astrocytes; computationalapproaches to describe and predict neuron-astrocytes interactions.The training on state-of-the-art biomaterials interfaces, electronic, photonic devices will be combined with in depth knowledge on optogenetics, neuroscience, glial physiology and biology and computational methodsto validate the developed tools in vitro, ex vivo, in silico & in pathological models of glioma, ischemia, epilepsy and depression.The ASTROTECH network combines 11 beneficiaries and 14 partners belonging to 9 European and Non-EU countries Academia, Public Research Centersand industrial labs, that combines interdisciplinary, intersectoral and soft skills knowledges where the private sector is highly representedand covers every step “from benchside to bedside” of the value chain. ASTROTECH Glial Engineeringto provide a more complete understanding of brain health and disorders.


Net EU contribution
€ 784 499,04
00185 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 784 499,04

Participants (10)