The field of basal cognition seeks to understand how adaptive, context-specific behavior occurs in non-neural biological systems. Embryogenesis and regeneration require plasticity in many tissue types to achieve structural and functional goals in diverse circumstances. Thus, advances in both evolutionary cell biology and regenerative medicine require an understanding of how non-neural tissues could process information. Neurons evolved from ancient cell types that used bioelectric signaling to perform computation. However, it has not been shown whether or how non-neural bioelectric cell networks can support computation. We generalize connectionist methods to non-neural tissue architectures, showing that a minimal non-neural Bio-Electric Network (BEN) model that utilizes the general principles of bioelectricity (electrodiffusion and gating) can compute. We characterize BEN behaviors ranging from elementary logic gates to pattern detectors, using both fixed and transient inputs to recapitulate various biological scenarios. We characterize the mechanisms of such networks using dynamical-systems and information-theory tools, demonstrating that logic can manifest in bidirectional, continuous, and relatively slow bioelectrical systems, complementing conventional neural-centric architectures. Our results reveal a variety of non-neural decision-making processes as manifestations of general cellular biophysical mechanisms and suggest novel bioengineering approaches to construct functional tissues for regenerative medicine and synthetic biology as well asmore »
Biology-guided engineering of bioelectrical interfaces
Bioelectrical interfaces that bridge biotic and abiotic systems have heightened the ability to monitor, understand, and manipulate biological systems and are catalyzing profound progress in neuroscience research, treatments for heart failure, and microbial energy systems. With advances in nanotechnology, bifunctional and high-density devices with tailored structural designs are being developed to enable multiplexed recording or stimulation across multiple spatial and temporal scales with resolution down to millisecond–nanometer interfaces, enabling efficient and effective communication with intracellular electrical activities in a relatively noninvasive and biocompatible manner. This review provides an overview of how biological systems guide the design, engineering, and implementation of bioelectrical interfaces for biomedical applications. We investigate recent advances in bioelectrical interfaces for applications in nervous, cardiac, and microbial systems, and we also discuss the outlook of state-of-the-art biology-guided bioelectrical interfaces with high biocompatibility, extended long-term stability, and integrated system functionality for potential clinical usage.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Nanoscale Horizons
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 94 to 111
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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