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Vertical Silicon Nanowires as a Scalable Intracellular Interface to Living Cells - Faculty Candidate

March 12, 2012
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Jacob Robinson
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

From: Harvard University

George R. Brown Hall

Human behavior depends on the action and interaction of trillions of micron-scale biological cells. To better understand how these cells operate and cooperate in complex biological systems, there is a need for new experimental tools that can scale both to the small size of individual cells and to the large numbers of cells contained in cellular networks. In this talk, I will describe how nanofabrication technology can be used to create new bio-interfaces with feature sizes and densities comparable to biological cell networks. In particular, I will discuss how vertical silicon nanowires can penetrate the cellular membrane to provide a physical interface to the interiors of living cells. This intracellular interface allows us to probe the chemical and electrical activity of many individual cells in parallel. I will show how these new capabilities can be used to reverse engineer neuronal circuits and discover internal biochemical signaling cascades.

Hosts: Behnaam Aazhang and Richard Baraniuk

Jacob Robinson
Jacob T. Robinson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry
and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. He received a BS in Physics from
UCLA and a PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell University. As a doctoral
student he studied light confinement and light-matter interaction in
nanofabricated silicon photonic devices.
His current research is focused on using silicon nanofabrication technology
to create new devices for biological research.