Current Lab Members and Research

Current Lab Members

(click on a picture below to go to that person's homepage)

  (be sure to remove the [nospam] portion from the email addresses above, of course)


Prof. Jerry Pine, Professor of Physics currently residing in the division of Biology, has been contributing to the biophysics/neurobiology field for over 20 years.  Professor Pine and his collaborators have developed a number of new technologies for studying neural systems. Examples include an x-ray microscope for living cells, multi-electrode cell culture chambers, fiber-optic photodiode arrays and high-speed CCD cameras for imaging of neural activity, and silicon probes for long-term interfacing of neural tissue with external electronics.  He is currently leading the Pinelab to develop the neurochip.

Gary Chow is a graduate student in the Dept. of Bioengineering.  He is developing a method to quickly insert neurons into the neurocages on the neurochip using a computer-controlled mechanized stage in combination with a laser tweezers.

Jon Erickson, graduate student in the Dept. of Bioengineering, is working on development of the neurochip system, investigating ways to sustain long-term cell growth and network formation on the neurochip, and verifying whether electrical activity from caged neurons can be stimulated and recorded.

Angela Tooker, graduate student in EE, is a member of Prof Yu-Chong Taiís micromachining lab.  She is developing a robust method for fabricating the neurochips.


  Current Lab Projects

(summaries of each project are included below...for more details on a particular project, click on the corresponding pictures)

Many thanks to the NIH for their continued support of these projects.

Neurochip: a tool to study synaptic plasticity ("learning") in living neural networks.  Currently under development, the neurochip is a micromachined array of neuro-wells.  The prototype chips have 16 wells arranged in a 4x4 array (shown below); the final design will incorporate 61 wells.    Dissociated neurons--rat hippocampal cells--are placed in each well, one neuron per well.  Neurites can extend out and connect to other neurons and neurites through tunnels near the base of a well.   The neurochip is designed to support growth and network development while maintaining one-to-one correspondence between the neurons and the stimulating/recording  electrodes, allowing for reliable stimulation and long-term monitoring of individual neurons.   

SEM of neurowell (Left);   4x4 array of neurowells partially loaded (Right)

MEA studies on synaptic plasticity: studying the formation of functional neuronal networks in cultures of dissociated rat cortex.  An MEA (multi-electrode array) consists of 61 electrodes made of the transparent conductor, indium-tin oxide (ITO), on a glass substrate connected to stimulation and recording electronics. Using neuronal cultures growing on an MEA,  the effect of continuous multi-site electric stimulation on network development and formation is being investigated.
7-day old cortex culture growing on MEA dish


Claverol-Tinture, E. and Pine, J. (2002) Extracellular potentials in low-density dissociated neuronal cultures. J. Neurosci. Meth., 117:13-21.

Wagenaar, D. A., DeMarse, T. B., Potter, S. M., and Pine, J., (2001) Development of complex activity patterns in cortical networks cultured on multielectroide arrays, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, 2001

Maher, M. P., Pine, J., Wright, J., and Tai, Y.-C. (1999) The neurochip: A new multielectrode device for stimulating and recording from cultured neurons. J. Neurosci. Meth. 87:45-56. pdf  ps

Pine, J. and Potter, S. M. (1997) A high speed CCD camera for optical recording of neural activity. Soc. Neurosci. Abstract 259.6

Fraser, S. E., Pine, J., and Potter, S. M. (1997) 2-photon time-lapse imaging of transplant integration in cultured rat hippocampal slices. Soc. Neuroscience Abstract 140.18


Angela Tooker, Jon Erickson, Yu-Chong Tai,and Jerry Pine, Development of Biocompatible Parylene Neurocages, Proceedings, IEEE EMBS, San Francisco, September 2004, pp. 2542-2545   pdf 

Qing He., Ellis Meng, Yu-Chong Tai, Christopher M. Rutherglen, Jon Erickson, and Jerome Pine, Parylene Neuro-Cages for Live Neural Networks Study, The 12th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems, (Transducers'03), Boston, MA, Jun 8-12, 2003  pdf  ps

E. Meng, Y.C. Tai, J. Erickson, J. Pine: Parylene Technology for Mechanically Robust Neuro-cages. Conference Abstract MicroTAS 2003. pdf  ps

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