Disruptive materials, technologies & approaches to unravel the role of Astrocytes in brain function and dysfunction: towards to Glial interfaces

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BCAM principal investigator: Maurizio De Pitta
Reference: 956325 - ASTROTECH (H2020)
Coordinator: CNR - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Partners: UCM - University of Cambridge
UEM AVCR INEM - The Czech Academy of sciences
AMU - MArseilleUniversité
BCAM - Basque Center for Applied Mathematics
INEB - Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica
UNIBA - Università delgli Studi di Bari
IIT - Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
CSIC - Spanich National Research Council
AVA - Avanzare srl
OPTO - OptoceuticsApS
UR - University of La Rioja
Duration: 2020 - 2024
Funding agency: MSCA-ITN-2020: Marie Sk?odowska-Curie
Type: International Project
Status: Ongoing Project


The past four decades demonstrated that non-neuronal cells, called astrocytesare emerging as crucial players for brain function & dysfunction. A major obstacle of previous and current initiatives on Neurotechnologiesis a lack of focus on astrocytesand most of the tools used to probe and sense astrocytes are derived from those developed to study neurons. ASTROTECH will create and develop the field of Glial Engineering, to provide a consistent range of tools to record, study, and manipulate astrocytes in the healthy and diseased brain. ASTROTECH will train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) on research, training and complimentary skills aiming at: engineering biomaterials and nanostructured interfaces to provide in vivo-like in vitro models for controlled & reliable studies of astrocytes in vitro; fabrication and characterization of nanostructured devices for stimulation, recording and biosensing of astrocytes; optogenetics tools, optoelectronic device &photonic methods for precice and cell selective stimulation of astrocytes; computationalapproaches to describe and predict neuron-astrocytes interactions.The training on state-of-the-art biomaterials interfaces, electronic, photonic devices will be combined with in depth knowledge on optogenetics, neuroscience, glial physiology and biology and computational methodsto validate the developed tools in vitro, ex vivo, in silico & in pathological models of glioma, ischemia, epilepsy and depression.The ASTROTECH network combines 11 beneficiaries and 14 partners belonging to 9 European and Non-EU countries Academia, Public Research Centersand industrial labs, that combines interdisciplinary, intersectoral and soft skills knowledges where the private sector is highly representedand covers every step “from benchside to bedside” of the value chain. ASTROTECH Glial Engineeringto provide a more complete understanding of brain health and disorders.

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