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Fabrication and Application of Field-Effect Sensors based on Graphene to Monitor the Physiology of PC12 Cells

Grant number: 12/15956-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2012
Effective date (End): March 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biophysics - Cellular Biophysics
Principal Investigator:Lauro Tatsuo Kubota
Grantee:Alexandre Kisner
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The development of multiple devices which are able to monitor the physiological activity of several cells simultaneously is central for both, fundamental and technological research applied to pharmacological analyses. The current methods to analyze the electrophysiological activity of cardiac and neuronal cells are based on patch-clamping and patch-amperometry techniques, which do not allow the simultaneous multiplex analysis of several cells and long-term experiments. Herein, the proposed project aims to develop chips containing up to 64 graphene field-effect transistors and apply these devices as platforms to the growth of PC12 cells, which are a typical neuronal cell line model. Especifically, the produced transistors will be applied to monitor the physiological activity related to the dependence of the exocytosis of neurotransmitters from PC12 cells as a function of the glucose concentration in the extracellular media. Initially, the priority of the project will be given to the development of miniaturized transistors. In sequence, after the devices characterization by microscopy and electrical techniques, measurements to detect the exocytosis of neurotransmitters from PC12 cells grown in culture media containing different concentrations of glucose will be performed. Biophysical models will be applied to analyze the frequency and the shape of the obtained signals. These results will be compared to other data reporting in the literature the role of glucose in the inhibition/generation of electrical signals in the cells. These data will help the future improvement and technological application of these sensors based on graphene. Finally, it is important to take into account that the development and application of such devices to analyze the activity of electrogenic cells is a starting field not exploited in the country, so that the proposed project aims to implement this new and promising field of research in the country.

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