A Caltech Library Service

The Neurochip: A Complete System for Long-Term Investigation of Cultured Neural Network Connectivity


Erickson, Jonathan Christopher (2008) The Neurochip: A Complete System for Long-Term Investigation of Cultured Neural Network Connectivity. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/EAMA-EQ86.


Traditional techniques for investigating cultured neural networks, such as the patch clamp and multi-electrode array, are limited by 1) the number of identified cells which can be in simultaneous electrical contact, 2) the length of time for which cells can be studied, and 3) the lack of 1:1 neuron-to-electrode specificity.

Here, I present a novel device --- dubbed the "neurochip" --- which overcomes these limitations. This micromachined device consists of 4x4 array of "neurocages" which mechanically trap a neuron near an extracellular electrode. While the cell body is trapped, the axon and dendrites can freely grow into the surrounding area to form a network. The electrode is bi-directional, capable of both stimulating and recording action potentials. This system is noninvasive, so that an entire network --- all constituent neurons --- can be studied over its lifetime with fixed 1:1 neuron-to-electrode correspondence. Proof-of-concept experiments have been completed to illustrate that functional networks do indeed form in the neurochip system, and that suprathreshold connectivity can be fully mapped over several weeks. The neurochip opens a new domain in neurobiology for studying small cultured neural networks.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:MEA; multi-electrode; neurochip
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Bioengineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Pine, Jerome
Thesis Committee:
  • Pine, Jerome (chair)
  • Burdick, Joel Wakeman
  • Fraser, Scott E.
  • Tai, Yu-Chong
Defense Date:23 February 2008
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-04162008-113925
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1399
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:20 May 2008
Last Modified:17 Jan 2020 20:44

Thesis Files

PDF (Thesis) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF (Bibliography) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page