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I have been performing research in the field of nanoscience for over 15 years. In reality, nanoscience is a convergence of the areas of material science/ physics, surface chemistry and biology that has major applications in electronics/optics and in the field of biology from basic biology to drug discovery and genomics. The primary application for our research is the creation of new test-beds of functional cellular systems to investigate spinal cord repair, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's. The idea is that there are no assays that exist between single cells and whole animals at this point. If we can create functional assays based on small cellular units, this would allow the creation of high throughput analysis systems to screen for drug candidates based on cell-cell communication before beginning animal and human studies. Thus, a functional unit based on reflex arc would allow in vitro investigation of spinal injury and ALS while one based on the CA3 region of the hippocampus would allow investigation in an in vitro system of defects that arise in learning and memory in Alzheimer's. We are also applying these techniques to create a high-throughput cell based systems for drug discovery and proteomics based on pathway identification in single cells but also in these functional units. We are also a leading group in the area of using these hybrid systems for biological computation as well as fundamental investigations in neuroscience and cell biology.
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