Direct Laser Guiding of Neuronal Growth

Main funder

Funder's project number: 343370

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 248 650,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2021

Project end date: 31/08/2024


The ability to direct and guide neuronal growth is of great importance to the fields of neurographene and neuroscience in particular. Currently, several methods of chemically guiding neuron growth based on substrate functionalization, such as functionalizing a substrate with primary amines, have been explored and found effective. However, many of these methods require defining the substrate/pathways in a way that cannot be easily altered once neuron growth has begun, which limits their utility and adaptability. We therefore propose a new method that will allow for on-the-fly direction of neuronal growth by utilizing primary amines caged by biocompatible boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY) photoprotecting groups (PPG), hereafter referred to as 1. When exposed to light of a specific wavelength (determined by the BODIPY-group used), 1 will photocleave into 1a, which terminates in a primary amine. By forming a self-assembled monolayer of 1 on a graphene/graphene-oxide surface, we can selectively create patterns of 1a in real-time via utilizing a laser of the appropriate wavelength, creating a surface of exposed amines to guide and control neuron growth. Further, unlike other methods, this technique can be performed once neuronal growth has already been started, without requiring either the removal of the growth medium or the introduction of additional compounds to further functionalize the surface, both of which could damage or kill the already-growing cells. This, then, would allow for real-time, on-the-fly direction of neuronal growth in response to growth conditions and other factors, which opens up new avenues of research and fabrication in the field of neuroscience and neurographene, especially.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Primary responsible unit

Last updated on 2022-06-07 at 12:45