Brain-on-a-chip: Are we there yet?
In this talk, I will outline our efforts to understand how the brain works via two state-of-the-art technological platforms based on photonics and nanostructured semiconductor devices (a.k.a. Brain-on-a-chip). We focus our efforts to analyse the computational properties of single brain cells (or neurons) and how these cells grow to form networks and eventually function as a circuit. To analyse the function of single neurons, we use light not only to visualize these neurons but also to stimulate and record neuronal activity. We produce light patterns using a programmable hologram, which projects multiple foci from a single laser. Each focus can be used as a light probe to stimulate and/or record neuronal activity. To analyse the development of multiple neurons forming circuits, we artificially grow brain cells on a semiconductor wafer patterned with nanowire scaffolds. From a fundamental perspective, we aim to investigate the structural significance of nanoscale topographies for guiding neurite outgrowth. We show that isotropic arrangements of indium phosphide InP nanowires guide neurite growth and aid in forming circuits with neighboring neurons. Multiple neurons with neurites guided by the topography of the nanowire scaffolds exhibit synchronized network activity, implying intercellular communications via synaptic connections. Photonics in combination with growing brain cells "on a chip" can lead to new insights on the function of individual neurons and how they form and function as neuronal circuits.
By submitting their manuscript to the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas (SPP) for consideration, the Authors warrant that their work is original, does not infringe on existing copyrights, and is not under active consideration for publication elsewhere.
Upon acceptance of their manuscript, the Authors further agree to grant SPP the non-exclusive, worldwide, and royalty-free rights to record, edit, copy, reproduce, publish, distribute, and use all or part of the manuscript for any purpose, in any media now existing or developed in the future, either individually or as part of a collection.
All other associated economic and moral rights as granted by the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines are maintained by the Authors.