The University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine (Canada) scientists who proved it is possible to cultivate a network of brain cells that reconnect on a silicon chip – or the brain on a microchip – have been involved in the development of new technology that monitors brain cell activity at a resolution never achieved before. Developed with the National Research Council Canada (NRC), the new silicon chips are also simpler to use, which will help future understanding of how brain cells work under normal conditions and permit drug discoveries for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Naweed Syed, in conjunction with the NRC, developed the new technology which enables scientists to track subtle changes in brain activity at the level of ion channels and synaptic potentials. Vitally useful for basic biomedical research, the new neurochip technology can likely be scaled up, demonstrating potential utility as a novel tool for medium throughput drug screening.
Dolores Martinez, Christophe Py, Mike W. Denhoff, Marzia Martina, Robert Monette, et al. “High-fidelity patch-clamp recordings from neurons cultured on a polymer microchip.” Biomedical Microdevices , 6 August 2010.
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