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Reflex-arc on a chip: An in silico cell culture analogue

K.A. Wilson, M. Das, P. Molnar and J.J. Hickman
University of Central Florida, US

Keywords:
MEMS, SAMs, reflex-arc,

Abstract:
To overcome the shortcomings of in vitro and animal models we are developing a microscopic cell culture analogue (microCCA) of the spinal reflex-arc. The present work draws on advances in a wide variety of technical fields including cell culture, surface chemistry, and microfabrication. These advances have allowed us to begin development of a microCCA device comprised of the basic components of the reflex-arc: a muscle fiber, a dorsal root ganglion cell, and a motoneuron. Silicon microstructures serve as the foundation of the device. Surface modification with alkyl-silane SAMs followed by patterning with deep UV photolithography to selectively control cell adhesion and growth. Furthermore, we have demonstrated the control of neuronal growth and myotube differentiation on the microstructures. This system will enable the controlled interrogation of properties of the reflex-arc, thereby creating an improved test bed for the development of novel drug therapies for traumatic SCI and neurodegenerative diseases

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