The function of a biological neuronal network is determined by the intrinsic properties of its constituent neurons, their spatial connectivity, and the adaptive strengthening/weakening of those connections as informed by the network!s spatiotemporal pattern of electrical and chemical signaling. Deciphering the neuronal code - the rules by which spatiotemporal connectivity translates to function - remains to be a major scientific challenge, largely due to the lack of experimental tools that enable both the preparation of well- defined neuronal circuits with controlled connections and the simultaneous mapping of physical connectivity among, and signal propagation between, many neurons. The project proposed herein aims to develop new nano- and microelectronic tools that address these particular issues. Specifically, we will develop: (1) planar patch-clamp arrays (element number >100, element pitch <200 ?m) that enable the real-time monitoring of multiple neurons in dissociated culture or slice preparations and (2) vertical nanowire arrays that can perturb and modify neuronal differentiation and synapse formation through the controlled introduction of biochemical signals in a cell-specific fashion. These new tools will then be used, in combination with optical excitation and imaging schemes, to probe, at both the local and global levels, the real-time dynamics of constituent neurons within a given neuronal network upon application of precisely defined perturbations. Combined together, these tools will also provide a new platform for assaying, in a parallel fashion, the biochemical and genetic pathways that govern neuronal differentiation and growth. The proposed research, which combines recent advances in neurobiology with cutting-edge developments in nanomaterials synthesis and microfabrication, will allow for the meticulous study of extant network connectivity and stimuli- and reward-induced synaptic adaptation. The information gained through these studies will be crucial for systematically translating any network!s connectivity to its function, and thus help to unravel the design principles of the brain.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Type
NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (NDPA) (DP1)
Project #
8DP1DA035083-05
Application #
8307813
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-NDPA-B (P2))
Program Officer
Aigner, Thomas G
Project Start
2008-09-30
Project End
2013-07-31
Budget Start
2012-08-01
Budget End
2013-07-31
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$831,600
Indirect Cost
$336,600
Name
Harvard University
Department
Chemistry
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
082359691
City
Cambridge
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02138
Na, Yu-Ran; Kim, So Yeon; Gaublomme, Jellert T et al. (2013) Probing enzymatic activity inside living cells using a nanowire-cell "sandwich" assay. Nano Lett 13:153-8
Shalek, Alex K; Satija, Rahul; Adiconis, Xian et al. (2013) Single-cell transcriptomics reveals bimodality in expression and splicing in immune cells. Nature 498:236-40