creating a
healthier future

Neuroengineering and Computational Neuroscience


Neurons are Nature’s solution to fast and reliable information processing, and many neuroscience challenges can only be tackled by acknowledging this fact.

We are a multidisciplinary group focused on neuronal computation and neuronal circuits’ dynamics: the lab makes extensive use of electrophysiology methods (particularly microelectrode arrays), functional imaging and microfluidics, to improve our understanding on how neurons encode, transmit, store and process information.

Together with expertise in machine learning and in silico neuroscience tools (e.g. modeling, advanced signal/image analysis and computer simulations), we also use and develop neuroengineering approaches (e.g. neuro-electronic interfaces) that help us reveal, and repair, neural function.



Both neurobiology fundamental research and neuroengineering technological innovation are carried out in our group.

We use well-controlled in vitro/ex vivo systems, where with can monitor and modulate neural activity with high spatiotemporal resolution, to uncover and analyze the properties of neuronal circuits in either physiological or altered conditions. With our methodologies, we have been able to develop and validate novel microelectrodes technologies and show, for example, that bidirectional signal conduction is present in axons in neuronal cultures. We also use our combination of microelectrode arrays and microfluidics to characterize electrical communication between neuronal populations, and the effect of neuronal activity in axonal transport dynamics.

Through strong connections to the clinic, we also work with electrophysiology recordings from human patients implanted with microelectrode arrays. Research is carried out in the context of epilepsy (e.g. detection of epileptogenic regions), as well as with deep brain stimulation in patients with Parkinson’s disease (e.g. developing methods towards adaptive neuromodulation).

A long-term goal of the NCN group is the development of microelectrodes systems and other neurotechnologies for therapeutic strategies based on the control and modulation of neural electrophysiology (closed-loop neuromodulation).

Dissociated E´15 rat cortical neurons, immunolabelled for BIII-tubulin (green), cultured for 3 days (DIV 3) on a custom-made 12-islets gold mushrooms microelectrodes chip.


Selected Publications

Dias C., Castro D., Aroso M., Ventura J., Aguiar P.,
Memristor-Based Neuromodulation Device for Real-Time Monitoring and Adaptive Control of Neuronal Populations. ACS Applied Electronic Materials4(5):2380-2387, 2022. [Journal: Article] [CI: 9] [IF: 4,7]
DOI: 10.1021/acsaelm.2c00198 SCOPUS: 85130149541

Mateus J.C., Weaver S., Van Swaay D., Renz A.F., Hengsteler J., Aguiar P., Vörös J.,
Nanoscale Patterning of in Vitro Neuronal Circuits. ACS Nano16(4):5731-5742, 2022. [Journal: Article] [CI: 5] [IF: 17,1]
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c10750 SCOPUS: 85129103498

Teixeira H., Dias C., Aguiar P., Ventura J.,
Gold-Mushroom Microelectrode Arrays and the Quest for Intracellular-Like Recordings: Perspectives and Outlooks. Advanced Materials Technologies6(2):, 2021. [Journal: Review] [CI: 12] [IF: 8,9]
DOI: 10.1002/admt.202000770 SCOPUS: 85097519751

Mateus J.C., Lopes C.D.F., Aroso M., Costa A.R., Gerós A., Meneses J., Faria P., Neto E., Lamghari M., Sousa M.M., Aguiar P.,
Bidirectional flow of action potentials in axons drives activity dynamics in neuronal cultures. Journal of Neural Engineering18(6):, 2021. [Journal: Article] [CI: 5] [IF: 5]
DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/ac41db SCOPUS: 85122868659

Gerós A., Magalhães A., Aguiar P.,
Improved 3D tracking and automated classification of rodents’ behavioral activity using depth-sensing cameras. Behavior Research Methods52(5):2156-2167, 2020. [Journal: Article] [CI: 8] [IF: 6,2]
DOI: 10.3758/s13428-020-01381-9 SCOPUS: 85083094268

Castro D., Nunes V., Lima J.T., Ferreira J.G., Aguiar P.,
Trackosome: a computational toolbox to study the spatiotemporal dynamics of centrosomes, nuclear envelope and cellular membrane. Journal of Cell Science133(24):, 2020. [Journal: Article] [CI: 2] [IF: 5,3]
DOI: 10.1242/jcs.252254 SCOPUS: 85099992997

Aresta G., Araújo T., Kwok S., Chennamsetty S.S., Safwan M., Alex V., Marami B., Prastawa M., Chan M., Donovan M., Fernandez G., Zeineh J., Kohl M., Walz C., Ludwig F., Braunewell S., Baust M., Vu Q.D., To M.N.N., Kim E., Kwak J.T., Galal S., Sanchez-Freire V., Brancati N., Frucci M., Riccio D., Wang Y., Sun L., Ma K., Fang J., Kone I., Boulmane L., Campilho A., Eloy C., Polónia A., Aguiar P.,
BACH: Grand challenge on breast cancer histology images. Medical Image Analysis56:122-139, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 332] [IF: 11,1]
DOI: 10.1016/ SCOPUS: 85067343074

Mateus J.C., Lopes C.D.F., Cerquido M., Leitão L., Leitão D., Cardoso S., Ventura J., Aguiar P.,
Improved in vitro electrophysiology using 3D-structured microelectrode arrays with a micro-mushrooms islets architecture capable of promoting topotaxis. Journal of Neural Engineering16(3):, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 10] [IF: 4,1]
DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/ab0b86 SCOPUS: 85065810756

Heiney K., Mateus J.C., Lopes C.D.F., Neto E., Lamghari M., Aguiar P.,
µSpikeHunter: An advanced computational tool for the analysis of neuronal communication and action potential propagation in microfluidic platforms. Scientific Reports9(1):, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 6] [IF: 4]
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42148-3 SCOPUS: 85064068131

Ongoing Projects

Storing and recalling biological Memories with Neuromorphic Electronics
Reference: PTDC/NAN-MAT/4093/2021
Proponent: FCUP - Faculdade Ciências do Porto
Sponsor: FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
From 01-JAN-22 to 31-DEC-24
Neuromorphic devices for adaptive real-time neuromodulation in brain electrical stimulation therapies
Reference: la Caixa HR22-00189
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: "la Caixa" Foundation
From 31-DEC-22 to 31-DEC-25
Improving Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease with Personalized Electrophysiological Biomarkers and Data-Driven Stimulation Strategies
Reference: Premio Mantero Belard - SCML 2022 - smartDBS
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
From 01-JAN-23 to 31-DEC-25