Development and Characterization of an Inkjet Printable Neural Electrode Coating

At the Institute of Bioelectronics (PGI-8/ICS-8) at the Foschungszentrum Jülich, physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers perform joint research on the scientific principles of the functional link between biological components and electronic components. This collaboration has led to the development of platforms for microfluidics, micro- and nano-patterning, and electronic biosensors. These technologies are not only developed to understand biological processes, but also pave the way for their application in sensor technology and diagnostics. With the advertised position we are planning to strengthen our research efforts to improve extracellular recording methods and develop future implant devices.

Job Description:
The main objective of the master’s thesis project is to inkjet print a ceramic neural electrode coating through sol-gel synthesis, as the use of neural electrodes allows for insights into brain function. Without an electrode coating, inflammatory responses by host tissue to inserted electrodes often inhibit electrode function. Additionally, neural electrode coatings can improve the electrical properties of such electrodes. Specifically, recent work has shown that aminosilane-functionalized silica, where silica has been shown to improve electrical properties of neural electrodes, encourages the growth of neurons while limiting the growth of astrocytes and thereby reducing host response. Building off of this work, the goal of the project is to create an inkjet printable version of the coating, which would allow for accurate deposition on the micron scale. Cell culture of neurons and astrocytes on the printed material, followed by immunostaining, would then be used to determine whether the coating is suitable for neural electrodes. Within the project, the master’s student is expected to formulate a sol-gel based neural electrode coating for inkjet printing, analyze neuron and astrocyte growth behavior on the printed coating, and perform electrochemical and physiological measurements with the coating.

Weitere Informationen

Helmholtz Gemeinschaft
PGI-8 - Bioelectronics
Christopher Beale
Bio- und Gentechnologie
Master’s student in chemistry, biology, or a relevant engineering field
Ability to communicate with scientists and technicians from various disciplines
Independent worker with a well-structured and systematic research approach
Experience in a chemistry or biology lab
Knowledge of sol-gel materials or neuroscience is a plus
What We Offer:

Multifaceted work in an interdisciplinary and international setting, as well as a cooperative work environment
Teaching of sol-gel ink chemistry and inkjet printing
Training in cell culture and immunostaining
Fully equipped chemistry and biology labs
Forschungszentrum Jülich is located at the intersection of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, and has strong links to the ABCD Region (Aachen, Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf) which is one of the leading high-tech regions in Europe.

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