Publications / SAND Report

Neural assembly models derived through nano-scale measurements

Fan, Hongyou F.; Forsythe, James C.; Branda, Catherine B.; Warrender, Christina E.; Schiek, Richard S.

This report summarizes accomplishments of a three-year project focused on developing technical capabilities for measuring and modeling neuronal processes at the nanoscale. It was successfully demonstrated that nanoprobes could be engineered that were biocompatible, and could be biofunctionalized, that responded within the range of voltages typically associated with a neuronal action potential. Furthermore, the Xyce parallel circuit simulator was employed and models incorporated for simulating the ion channel and cable properties of neuronal membranes. The ultimate objective of the project had been to employ nanoprobes in vivo, with the nematode C elegans, and derive a simulation based on the resulting data. Techniques were developed allowing the nanoprobes to be injected into the nematode and the neuronal response recorded. To the authors's knowledge, this is the first occasion in which nanoparticles have been successfully employed as probes for recording neuronal response in an in vivo animal experimental protocol.