If you can’t get enough of those neurons-on-a-chip we covered a few weeks ago, here’s more on how it was accomplished, from Peter Fromherz’s lab at the Max Planck Institute:
…the team zeroed in on the protein fibronectin, which is involved in many cellular processes, including tissue repair, blood clotting, and cell adhesion. The scientists grew the nerve cell on the protein and then used the protein to adhere the nerve to the silicon chip.
In addition to helping the cell adhere, the protein also served as a gate through which charged particles of sodium – the “Na” in NaChip – could move between the nerve and transistor.
By measuring the charge on the chip, the scientists confirmed that the electrical pulses from the active neuron were finding their way to it.
They were also able to stimulate the nerve cell by sending an electrical pulse from the chip’s capacitors.
After the neuron was pinged, researchers quickly learned it was registered in the WHOIS database, and are busy trying to access the neuron’s blog and RSS feed.
Flashback: Neuro-semiconductor Interface Developed
Hat tip: The Intern’s Wife