Micro-and Photon Electronics Laboratory

PI: Johan Stiens

 

C4N researcher:

Eowyn Van Wittenberghe

 

The LAMI laboratory has an expertise in electrical, electromagnetic and optical devices for sensing and monitoring applications such as ECG, PPG, HRV, dielectric permittivity and impedance measurements, as well as insight in the physical interactions mechanisms of the EM waves with biological matter, more in particular, with the central and peripheral nervous system. From an electrical and optical engineering perspective, the CNS and PNS are amazing complex dynamic non-linear networks, comprising the dynamics of the bidirectional interaction mechanisms between neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and the contributions of tunneling nanotubes and electrical gap junctions. The communication and the plasticity between all these cellular systems is an intriguing interplay between biochemical and electromagnetic-electrical-optical phenomena. More recent work has provided evidence that e.g. the resting potential of any cell (neuronal, and non-neuronal) is not just a readout of a cell state: it regulates the cell behavior just as the DNA code. Thus, the ability to control the resting potential and the intracellular currents in vivo would provide a powerful new tool for the study and treatment of diseases, a tool capable of revealing living-state physiological information impossible to obtain using molecular tools. We also postulate that “hotspots” may exist within cells that are highly active sites of electron transfer such as the inner mitochondrial membrane that houses the respiratory complexes of the electron transport chain. The impact of specific electrical and optical exposure parameters on molecules and cellular processes involved in ROS/RNS generation and scavenging processes will be studied using a broad range of experimental techniques.

We will perform our inter-disciplinary research from the perspective of integrating bottom-up (bio-physical interactions principles of EM Waves with quantum-mechanical charge transport processes at molecular level) with top-down (information and network perspective) approaches to allow control, modulation and stimulation on elements of the CNS and PNS. The outcomes of the research will provide a rational basis for controlling charge transfer processes in biological systems with electronic and optical technologies. These novel insights will pave the way for novel but rational development of methodologies to control cells in a variety of scenarios and disciplines and contributing to the progress in the electroceutical domain.