Where Ideas grow

Workshop on Neuroengineering: Electroceuticals

Using bioelectronics and electrical stimulation as therapeutic strategies in neurology

9-10th April 2018 | i3S, Porto


Neuroengineering is a multidisciplinary field with the goal of addressing neuroscience problems with methodologies that go well beyond molecular and cellular biology: by combining neuroscience with engineering fields such as computer science, information theory, electronics, nanomaterials, among others, neuroengineering creates new ways to reveal, repair and even enhance human brains.


This workshop aims at promoting an intellectually stimulating environment where new ideas can be exchanged and new collaborations can be forged. By integrating hands-on practical sessions, the workshop also gives the possibility for the interested participants to try basic techniques used in neuroengineering.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop


Organizer: Paulo Aguiar, i3S / INEB | Co-Organizer: João Ventura, IFIMUP-IN





First day | 9th April:

Lectures covering different topics in neuroengineering.


Second day, optional | 10th April:

Hands-on practical sessions on basic lab techniques in neuroengineering.



The hands-on practical sessions are targeted for students (MSc and PhD), but are in fact open to everyone.

Every practical session has a duration of 3h and each participant can only choose (register) one hands-on practical session. The list of available practical sessions is presented below.

Please notice that the number of available seats in each session is very low. The minimum number of participants in each session is 2 and the maximum is 4 (except for S4).





First day | 9th April

      Second day | 10th April
09:20 Welcome   09:30 - 12:30

Hands-on practicals

morning session  


Electroceuticals: the engineering perspective, challenges and solutions

Wouter Serdijn, Delft University of Technology and University College London, NL


Therapeutical role of electrical stimulation in peripheral nerve injuries

Xavier Navarro, Dept. Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Institut de Neurociències, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, SP

11:00 Coffee break  

A clinical perspective on deep brain stimulation for treating Parkinson’s disease (TBC)

Rui Vaz, Neurosurgery, S. João Hospital, PT


Can deep learning provide insights into the workings of the brain?

Arlindo Oliveira, INESC-ID / Instituto Superior Técnico

13:00 Lunch  

Microneedles with integrated sensors: a precision tool in biomedical instrumentation

Susana Freitas, INESC-MN / Instituto Superior Técnico

  ................ ....................................................

Advances in scalable implantable systems for neurostimulation using networked ASICs

Xiao Liu, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London, UK

  14:00 - 17:00

Hands-on practicals

afternoon session


Innovations for cranial, pain and pelvic health

João Silva, Pedro Costa and Maria João Primoroso, Medtronic, Worldwide medical equipment development company

- Cranial (Deep Brain Stimulation), João Miguel Silva
- Pain (Pain Therapies), Pedro Costa
- Pelvic Health (Specialty Therapies), Maria João Primoroso

16:30 Coffee break  

Wide-Field Photostimulation in in Vitro Cortical Networks

Michele Giugliano, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, BE


Design of neurotechnologies for the restoration of voluntary motor control after spinal cord injury

Marco Capogrosso, Department of Medicine/Physiology, University of Fribourg, CH


Conclunding Remarks




Hands-on Practical Sessions


S1 – Basics of Neuronal Cell Cultures (FULL)

[Responsible: Cátia Lopes, NCN - i3S/ INEB]

Cell culturing techniques are widely used in neuroengineering studies and have significantly improved our understanding of the physiological and pathological processes of living organisms. This workshop session is intended to provide an introductory training in the basic requirements for successful cell culturing. With this hands-on training session, the participants will get acquainted with a number of valuable resources and guidelines required to establish and maintain a cell culture, as well as the basic principles of sterile technique and laboratory safety issues.


S2 – Memristive artificial synapses: from device principles to neuromorphic applications

[Responsible: Catarina Dias, IFIMUP]

Neuromorphic devices use the brain's structure and operation principles as a promising solution for modern computational storage and processing demands.  Memristors, a new class of electronic devices, resemble properties similar to neural synapses. They behave like resistors whose resistance depends on the current that passed through the device. This session will start with an introduction to the memristor and then followed by the electrical characterization of some real examples. Finally, the results will be analyzed to characterize and distinguish different devices.


S3 – Principles of patch-clamp electrophysiology

[Responsible: Liliana Luz, i3S/IBMC]

Electrophysiology is the biomedical field dealing with the study of the electrical properties of cells and tissues. The patch-clamp technique is a major tool in electrophysiology which allow us to study cell excitability, functions and pharmacology of ion channels. Understanding how neurons respond to electrical stimuli is an essential element in the design of systems capable of modulating the activity in neuronal populations. In this practical session participants will learn the very basics of patch-clamp electrophysiology and will have to possibility to record the activity of neurons subject to electrical stimulation.


S4 – Introduction to the NEURON modeling software – in silico neuroscience and detailed simulations of neurons in a computer

[Responsible: Paulo Aguiar, NCN - i3S/INEB]

Neurons are cells specialized in transmission, storage and processing of information. Understanding the complexities of neuronal dynamics in normal conditions, in order to devise correction strategies in pathological conditions, requires detailed modeling and computer simulations. This hands-on practical session gives an introduction to the NEURON simulation environment, a well-established tool for in silico neuroscience and the workhorse software of the Human Brain Project. Participants will learn how to perform biophysically detailed simulations of single neurons and small neuronal circuits. Participants are requested to bring their laptop for the session.


S5– Principles of multielectrode arrays (MEAs) electrophysiology (FULL)

[Responsible: José Mateus, NCN - i3S/INEB]

Multielectrode array (MEA) technology is at the forefront of recording electrical activity from large neuronal ensembles. MEAs enable electrophysiological recordings of hundreds of neurons simultaneously, thus are of great use in both basic and clinical/applied neuroscience. Furthermore, different microelectrodes can be used to both record and stimulate neuronal activity in the same experiment. In this practical session, the participants will get acquainted with the principles of MEA experiments and have the possibility to evoke and record extracellular signals from in vitro neuronal networks.


S6 – Imaging neuronal activity with voltage sensitive dyes (VSD)

[Responsible: Miguel Aroso, NCN - i3S/INEB]

Voltage sensitive dyes (VSDs) bind to membranes without disturbing their normal function and emit fluorescent light that is directly proportional to changes in membrane potential, allowing the measurement of neuronal activity. Fluorescence is commonly recorded by an optical imaging system (microscope) with a high-speed camera, however, advanced imaging processing methods are required to extract precise neuronal activity measurements. In this session, participants will have the opportunity to record neuronal cell cultures labeled with a commercial VSD and analyze the acquired data with a software developed in-house.



A participant can register for the lectures only (9th April), for a hands-on session only (10th April), or for both lectures and one hands-on session.

The registration fees include the coffee breaks and lunch (on 9th April only) and the necessary hands-on session materials.

Please notice that the number seats is limited (for both lectures and practical sessions).

Participation will be confirmed on a first come, first served basis, upon confirmation of registration fee payment.

The time slot (morning or afternoon) for each practical session is subject to confirmation. This information will be provided to the participants upon registration.


Registration fees:

Early bird registration:

26th February 2018 | Payment deadline: 5th March 2018

Hands-On Session only: 40€ (for one hands-on session)

Lectures only: 20€ (lunch and coffee-breaks included on the seminars day, Apr 9)

Full workshop: 50€ (lunch and coffee-breaks included on the seminars day, Apr 9)


Regular registration:

Between 27th February and 23rd March 2018 | Payment deadline: 30th March 2018

Hands-On Session only: 60€ (for one hands-on session)

Lectures only: 40€ (lunch and coffee-breaks included on the seminars day, Apr 9)

Full workshop: 70€ (lunch and coffee-breaks included on the seminars day, Apr 9)



Payment Details

Please identify your name clearly and the Registration ID when ordering the transfer and send us a copy of the transfer receipt to events@i3s.up.pt. The receipts will be issued only if requested and amendments will not be accepted. Full payment of costs should be made in EURO (payments in any other currency will not be accepted). Currency exchanges or bank fees have to be paid by the registrant. In case of cancellation, the registration fee will not be refunded.


Bank Details

Bank Holder Name: INEB - Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica
Bank: Millennium Bcp
Address Bank: Palácio do Comércio - Rua Sá da Bandeira, 501 - 4000-436 Porto Portugal
IBAN: PT50 0033 0000 0388 0160 11604
Account: 03880160116
INEB VAT number: 502 312 220



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Events Management Office  |  Email: events@i3s.up.pt  |  Tel: +351 220 408 811 | Cell/ Mobile: +351 964 013 945