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The theme Neural and Cellular Engineering investigates the problem of how to interface electronics to peripheral nerve, using the potentials of microtechnology and micro electronics on one hand, and the electroneurophysiological and neuroanatomic possibilities and constraints, on the other hand.
By computer modeling of the bioelectric and statistical aspects of neurostimulation (recruitment) and neural recording and by rat animal experimental verification the optimal design has been done for a 3D multi-electrode with 128 electrode sites, to be implanted in a peripheral nerve fascicle.
A key issue is how to contact nerve fibers as selectively as possible. For this purpose one may reverse the situation: let nerve cells cover electrode substrates and try to contact the thus formed local networks by live neurites from the in vivo system.
This is the recent line of research, it addresses the issue of controlled neural growth to improve the neuro-electronic interface quality. It has been made possible by a PIONEER- University of Twente personal grant, grants from the European Community and other sources.
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