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Effect of Electrical Stimulation on Neural Plasticity

Neural damage is among the leading causes of disability worldwide and, unlike many diseases, treatments for central nervous system do not have a clear clinical pathway and satisfactory outcomes. Applying therapeutic electrical stimula­tion (ES) by means of advanced biomaterials is considered to be an alternative solution.

The overarching goal of this project is to find out an effective therapeutic electrical stimulation for neural recovery. To pursue this goal, our central objective is to develop and characterize an in vitro ES platform to assess the effect of ES on neural cells plasticity.

The main focus of this project is to develop an in vitro electrical stimulation system to investigate therapeutic electrical stimulation for recovering neural function. In vitro platforms are excellent tools for exploring effective electrical stimulation parameters and investigating corresponding molecular mechanisms that will shed light on in vivo protocols.

The specific objectives of this project are:

Obj. 1.  Development of optimized nanostructured electrodes. Here our main hypothesis is that nanostructured surfaces will provide improved electrochemical properties and robust performance as electrodes in vitro. Eventually, these surfaces might be good candidates to be used as bioelectrodes in neural stimulator and recording implants (future in vivo applications).

Obj. 2. Design and development of miniaturized electro-bioreactor. Here we will incorporate optimized electrodes within an in vitro device to create a platform for electrical stimulation of cells in culture.

Obj. 3. Calculation of the electrical field and validation of the device. We will use computational modelling and complementary experiments to narrow down functional parameters of electrical stimulation and design protocols for safe and effective electrical stimulation of the cells.

Obj. 4. Study the effect of electrical stimulation on neural plasticity in the stroke model. We will generate an in vitro model that mimics stroke condition, then will apply electrical stimulation using our in vitro platform. In this objective, we will test the protocols designed in Obj.3., and look for the relation(s) between stimulation parameters and pro-regenerative/pro-plasticity protein and mRNA expression.

Training and teaching activities: Currently, a PhD student and a research assistant are working in this project. We are open to host master students and guest visitors/interns for the experimental part of their academic assignments (e.g., TFM) in the context of this project.

Dr. Sahba Mobini

“My main research work has encompassed studies on effect of electrical stimulation on regenerative responses of cells and tissues.”

Project PI

Dr. María Ujué Gonzaléz

“I am a physicist with expertise in optics/nanophotonics, nanomaterials fabrication and characterization, and electron microscopy.”

Científica Titular CSIC

Andrés Sánchez

“I am working on my PhD research project within the context of ES4Neu.”

Predoctoral Student

Blanca Limones

“I graduated in experimental sciences and now I am contributing in ES4Neu project.”

Research Assistant 

Rihab Elfettahi

“I am a pharmacist and master student in biomaterials and I am doing my TFM project.”

Master Student

Publications

Effects of nanostructuration on the electrochemical performance of metallic bioelectrodes

February 5, 2022|Tags: , , , , |

Authors: Sahba Mobini,  María Ujué González, Olga Caballero-Calero,  Erin E. Patrick, Marisol Martín-González, José Miguel García-Martín  Article. Nanoscale. Volume 14, Pages 3179-3190 Date: February 2022 DOI: 10.1039/D1NR06280H Abstract: The use of metallic nanostructures in the fabrication of bioelectrodes (e.g., neural [...]