Updated on 27 August 2012
Dr Lieber said that, "The current methods we have for monitoring or interacting with living systems are limited. We can use electrodes to measure activity in cells or tissue, but that damages them. With this technology, for the first time, we can work at the same scale as the unit of biological system without interrupting it. Ultimately, this is about merging tissue with electronics in a way that it becomes difficult to determine where the tissue ends and the electronics begin."
The team members see multiple future applications for this technology, from hybrid bioengineered cyborg tissues that sense changes within the body and trigger responses from other implanted therapeutic or diagnostic devices, to development of lab-on-a-chip systems that would use engineered tissues for screening of drug libraries. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the McKnight Foundation and Boston Children's Hospital.