Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

INPRO prototype - A new biohybrid computational platform

Breakthrough advances in the field of neural information processing may only be possible using a CMOS-based MEA system. This is because high spatiotemporal resolution recordings are necessary to completely explore the complex nature of neural information processing.

The microelectronic system design approach in INPRO is based on a modular design. Each electrode of the microelectrode array (MEA) has an associated unit of circuitry including a fully differential band-pass filter for immediate signal conditioning, and a buffer for stimulation and mode selection.

Implementing filters and buffers at each electrode offers important advantages in comparison to other CMOS MEAs:
- The signal is amplified and filtered in close vicinity of the electrodes, which makes the design less sensitive to noise and distortion picked up along connection lines;

- A stimulation buffer makes the stimulation signal independent of the number of activated electrodes;

- The high-pass filter removes offset and slow drifts of the electrophysiological signals and, thereby allows for immediate signal amplification;
The low-pass filter limits the noise bandwidth and acts as an anti-aliasing filter for succeeding A/D-conversion. FPGA-based electronics interface to PC data aquisition and analysis using standard USB 2.0 protocols.

Neurons from primary sources as well as from progenitor cell lines can be cultured on the INPRO chip for several months. Surface modification by biochemical adhesion and differentiation factors allow the definition of growth areas. The chip can be housed in a microfluidic chamber for nutrient exchange and application of neuroactive drugs.

In summary, the INPRO platform has been tested and its functionality been validated using standard approaches and recipes in cell culturing and electrophysiology - demonstrating that upon commercialisation it may facilitate high-resolution investigation of learning paradigms by in vitro long-term multichannel electrophysiology without the need of changing well established protocols.

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