ENGAGE grant with McGill was awarded

posted Aug 15, 2014, 11:18 PM by Tiberius Brastaviceanu   [ updated Aug 15, 2014, 11:28 PM ]

A 25K ENGAGE grant was awarded on August first to a collaborative project between SENSORICA affiliates and Dr. P.H. Grutter from McGill University, Department of Physics. As in the other cases, Tactus was used as interface. Main SENSORICA contacts are Antonio and Francois
As with any ENGAGE grant, the funds are used by the academic lab, and our network benefits from the work done. 

Project title: Development of new micropositioner systems compatible with high resolution optical microscopy
Start date: 2014/09/01

The goal of this Engage Grant project is to implement and evaluate the micromanipulation potential of a new type of micromotors and a new type of driving electronics in the demanding context of the a unique configuration of a micorpositiner to be developed by Tactus Scientific Inc. [SENSORICA in fact] to perform manipulation of live neurons while they are being observed by high resolution optical microscopy. This combination of micromotors and drivers would lead to a unique configuration of a micropositiner to be developed by Tactus Scientific Inc. [SENSORICA]. In particular, the submicron resolution stability combined with the centimeter range motion of the innovation will be carefully assessed by these challenging experiments. High resolution optical microscopes have a very confined working area and thus present formidable challenges in micropositioner design. The Grutter group has considerable experience in manipulating and connecting live neurons. Experiments such as these could have a major impact on surgical repair of severed nerves, on the study and understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or the parameters limiting the rate of neurite growth as a result of the polymerization rate of neurofilaments due to geometrical and pharmacological interventions. An example of our capabilities of reconnecting live neurons is shown in the figure below.

Key to these manipulations is positioning a suitably chemically functionalized ~10 micrometer sized bead using a pipette mounted to a manipulator. Changing the experimental parameters (such as manipulation speed) allows us to change the dimension of the connecting neurite. To start providing answers to some of the broad themes outlined above one needs to combine a precise 3D manipulator with high resolution optical microscopy techniques. The idea here is to set up and evaluate new, compact 3D micromanipulators that can be used to manipulate the neurites during optical microscopy observation.