Monitor Cardiac Responses Using Nanolectronic Sensor

By Supriya Mangalpalli

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A Research team from the University of Massachusetts developed a mini sensor using suspended nanowire that can measure electrical and mechanical cellular responses in cardiac tissue simultaneously

Schematic of cell-sensor interface (credit: Jun Yao)

Researchers invented a sensor that is assembled using a 3D suspended semiconducting silicon nanowire. As the size of this sensor is very minute, it can easily attach to the cell membrane and “listen to” cellular activities. It has the distinct feature of converting the “heard” bioelectrical and biomechanical activities into electrical sensing signals for detection.

“A comprehensive assessment of cellular status requires knowledge of both mechanical and electrical properties at the same time,” says research team leader Jun Yao, ECE assistant professor, and a biomedical engineering adjunct. The amount of cell’s function is disturbed increases with an increase in the number of sensors used as the two different parameters are measured by different sensors

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Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) Ph.D. student Hongyan Gao, the first author of the paper published online by the journal Science Advances, describes the invention as “a new tool for improved cardiac studies that have the potential for leading-edge applications in cardiac-disease experiments.” As the cell works as a basic functional element in biology, monitoring its mechanical and electrical behaviors are two important parameters that help to understand cell state and consequently are important for health monitoring, disease diagnosis, and tissue repair.

“Other than developing integrated biochips, our next step is to integrate the nanosensors on free-standing scaffolds to innervate in vitro tissue for deep-tissue studies,” Yao says. “In the long run, we hope the nanosensors can be safely delivered to living cardiac systems for improved health monitoring and early disease diagnosis.”The concept of merging multiple sensing functions in one device will also broaden the capabilities of general bio-interface engineering, Yao says

Click here for the published Research Paper


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