Retina and Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Electrophysiology
Our close collaborator PhD Soile Nymark’s research group Biophysics of the Eye
The delicate retinal tissue is prone to various degenerative diseases. Many of these currently incurable diseases disrupt the functions of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a tissue underlying the retina and crucial for its well-being. Our aim is to investigate the critical role of retinal pigment epithelium in the maintenance of retina and for the development of transplantation therapies, focusing on the role of different ion channels in RPE physiology and pathophysiology. We use electrophysiology (mainly patch clamp technique and microelectrode array (MEA) technique), calcium imaging, and confocal microscopy to investigate RPE and retinal functioning.
Neural Network Assessment
Our work with biological in vitro neural networks (NNs) aims to create methods and tools for neural systems engineering and basic neuroscience. Furthermore, we intent to gain information on formation and functioning of neuronal and neuron-astrocyte networks. The work is motivated by the many aspects of extracellular in vitro electrophysiology not yet fully exploited, and by the potential of contributing towards in vitro chemical testing and drug development methods and stem cell based cures. To this end, we develop data analysis and electrical stimulation methods based on electrophysiological microelectrode array measurements as well as calcium and other microscopic imaging of neurons and astrocytes on cell and network level in vitro. The main topics are:
- Function and characterization of NNs
- Robust measures for assessing changes in NNs
- Assessment of the maturation, development, and stability of NNs
- Real-time closed-loop communications between information technology and NNs
In CBIG, we also do computational modelling of neuronal networks.
Electrical properties of both biological and technical constructs can be assessed with impedance measurements. In bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) the electrical properties of samples are measured at a range of frequencies, revealing information on the structural and biological properties and integrity of biological membranes and tissues, and electrical interfacing properties of electrodes as we develop novel electrode that could be used in cell differentiation environment from the very beginning, attached in the cell culture inserts. We employ BIS to investigate biological epithelia, neuronal and retinal cell cultures, and the electrodes for cell culture electrophysiology. The aim of the work is to support and verify the development of biological membranes and electrodes. Further, we use BIS to assess the changes of electrical barrier properties of epithelial tissue due to certain ion channel blockers and drugs.