Where Ideas grow

Neuroengineering and Computational Neuroscience

ABOUT

Neurons are Nature’s solution to fast and reliable information processing, and many neuroscience challenges can only be tackled with biophysics, information theory, signal processing, and mathematical modeling.
We are a transdisciplinarity group focused on neuronal computation: we develop and use neuro-electronic interfaces to uncover and modulate the functional properties of neuronal circuits.
We use and develop in silico neuroscience tools (e.g. mathematical modeling, advanced data/image analysis and computer simulations), which we combine with in vitro/ex vivo electrophysiology using multi-electrode arrays (MEAs), to improve our understanding on how neurons encode, transmit, store and process information. We also use and develop neuroengineering approaches, namely neuro-electronic interfaces, that help us reveal, and repair, neuronal function. A long-term goal of the NCN group is the development of (implantable) microelectrodes systems capable of effective and long-term therapeutic action through electrophysiological modulation.

 

RESEARCH

In the field of computational neuroscience we have contributed with biophysically detailed models of neuronal dynamics that have helped to understand, namely, i) nociceptive information integration in the spinal cord, and ii) information encoding and storage in the hippocampus. We are also very active in the development of open-source scientific software providing solutions for, namely, i) neuronal 3D reconstruction and morphometric analysis, and ii) animal tracking and automatic classification in behavioral neuroscience.
In neuroengineering we have described how memristors, neuromorphic devices with synapse-like properties, can be used to recreate brain-like memory systems. In fruitful collaborations with IFIMUP and INESC-MN we have also contributed to the development of new neuro-electronic interfaces where instead of planar microelectrodes we use mushroom-shaped microelectrodes, leading to improved electrical couplings with neurons.

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.

Team Coordinators

Team

Selected Publications

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: 1] [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: 1] [IF: 4]
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42148-3 SCOPUS: 85064068131. .

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: 74] [IF: 11,1]
DOI: 10.1016/j.media.2019.05.010 SCOPUS: 85067343074. .

Franco N.H., Gerós A., Oliveira L., Olsson I.A.S., Aguiar P.,
ThermoLabAnimal – A high-throughput analysis software for non-invasive thermal assessment of laboratory mice. Physiology and Behavior207:113-121, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 4] [IF: 2,8]
DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.05.004 SCOPUS: 85065609959. .

Cerquido M., Proenca M.P., Dias C., Leitao D.C., Cardoso S., Freitas P.P., Aguiar P., Ventura J.,
Tailoring the cap's morphology of electrodeposited gold micro-mushrooms. Applied Surface Science445:512-518, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 4] [IF: 5,2]
DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2018.03.158 SCOPUS: 85044588454. .

Mestre A.L.G., Inácio P.M.C., Elamine Y., Asgarifar S., Lourenço A.S., Cristiano M.L.S., Aguiar P., Medeiros M.C.R., Araújo I.M., Ventura J., Gomes H.L.,
Extracellular electrophysiological measurements of cooperative signals in astrocytes populations. Frontiers in Neural Circuits11:, 2017. [Journal: Article] [CI: 2] [IF: 3,1]
DOI: 10.3389/fncir.2017.00080 SCOPUS: 85032285952. .

Mestre A.L.G., Cerquido M., Inácio P.M.C., Asgarifar S., Lourenço A.S., Cristiano M.L.S., Aguiar P., Medeiros M.C.R., Araújo I.M., Ventura J., Gomes H.L.,
Ultrasensitive gold micro-structured electrodes enabling the detection of extra-cellular long-lasting potentials in astrocytes populations. Scientific Reports7(1):, 2017. [Journal: Article] [CI: 9] [IF: 4,1]
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-14697-y SCOPUS: 85032462728. .