Directing the Growth of Living Neural Networks

Sunday, 16 February 2014
Regency A (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Sarah C. Heilshorn , Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Advances in neurobiology are beginning to uncover the molecular mechanisms that govern neural network formation during development and regeneration. Building on these fundamental studies, engineers can now exploit these same molecular mechanisms to create synthetic neural systems. This talk will present the development of three engineering platforms to control the neurite outgrowth from living cells: subcellular patterning of bioactive substrates, microfluidic gradient devices, and biomimetic hydrogels. These enabling technologies represent a first step towards the development of living machines and may find further use in regenerative medicine therapies for the treatment of nervous system diseases and injuries.