Description of the activity
Bioelectronics aim to monitor, actuate or modulate biological processes. Currently there is a major focus on developing implantable bioelectronic devices expressing a minimal mismatch with the hosting biological environment in order to reduce the foreign body response.
Recent non-conventional approaches aim to integrate directly the electronic material into the tissue. In this way exogenously applied compounds that enter biological reaction networks can result in hybrid systems that combine unique features of living organisms with functionality and performance of artificial materials. We address this goal by challenging a small invertebrate animal, the tissue-like Hydra vulgaris, with organic semiconductor compounds and testing the possibility of augmenting electronic functionality in vivo. In a pioneer work we showed that the semiconducting oligothiophene, DTTO, can promote in living polyps the biogenesis of biohybrid microfibers, produced by co-assembling DTTO with endogenous proteins, and resulting in highly fluorescent and conductive microfibers. In our recent study a conjugate trimer (ETE-S) was shown able to polymerize in specific cell types. The p(ETE-S) functionalized animal tissue acquired electronic conductivity and electrochemical capacitance demonstrating the possibility of augmenting electronic functionality in animals and the biofabrication of electronic biohybrids.
National and International Collaborations
CNR (ISOF -Institute of Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity)
Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón(INMA), Zaragoza, Spain
Linköping University (Laboratory of Organic Electronics), Norrköping, Sweden
Advanced laboratory for molecular biology: equipment for DNA, RNA and Protein analysis; Cell culturing, animal facilities, fluorescence microscopy. Chemi doc, quantitative real Time PCR (StepOne, Applied Biosystem), cryostat, Functional Live Cell Imaging facility, Ultracentrifuge.