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Title:Characterization of neurite growth on a novel neurotube platform
Author(s):Cangellaris, Olivia
Advisor(s):Gillette, Martha U.
Department / Program:Bioengineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dendrite Development
Guidance Cues
Abstract:The dichotomy between the soul and the body, the mind and the brain, has puzzled philosophers and scientists alike since the ancient Greeks. Despite enormous advances in science, engineering, and medicine, we are still working to understand one of the greatest mysteries: the brain. For years, neuroscientists, biologists, physicists, and engineers have been investigating neurons in a variety of ways in order to fully understand how they function and organize into the complex structure of the brain. We know that electric fields play a critical role in the development of organisms in vivo, especially with respect to neural tube formation, and regeneration; the ability to guide proliferation and migration of neurons in vitro is being continually studied: multi-electrode arrays allow for the development and maintenance of functioning neural networks that can be programmed to complete a task; and yet, after ninety years of exploring electrical dimensions of tissue slices and cultures, there is still a wealth of information yet to be deciphered. In particular the role of dendrites in network formation and communication was largely overlooked while the axon was considered the principal player. Dendrites and their spines, which are the site of memory formation, play a pivotal role in learning and memory. This thesis introduces a novel method for investigating, at the single cell level, the response of the dendrites of hippocampal neurons to applied electric fields. Initial cultures on an array of biocompatible, optically transparent, self-rolling microtubes are presented and the interaction of the neurites with the microtubes is analyzed. This novel substrate and application have the potential to provide unique insights into the mechanisms that drive organization of the dendritic architecture of hippocampal neurons, and may prove valuable in investigating new methods of treating neurological and developmental disorders.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Olivia Cangellaris
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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