New book on "Engineering Biomaterials for Neural Applications"

ICMAB researcher Nieves Casañ-Pastor is co-author of the chapter on nanostructured electroactive materials.  

May 18, 2022
Engineering Biomaterials for Neural Applications book

The authors of Chapter 5 (pages 99-125) titled "Nanostructured Electroactive Materials with Large Charge Capacity: Direct Field Electrostimulation Through Connected and Non-connected Electrodes" are Ann M. Rajnicek, Cristina Suñol and ICMAB researcher at the Solid State Chemistry (SSC) group, Nieves Casañ-Pastor. 

The book "Engineering Biomaterials for Neural Applications: Targeting Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries" is published by Springer, and discusses past and present advances on the design and development of engineered materials for neural applications. The book employs traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries as concrete scenarios for neural actuation, such as recording, stimulation, repair, and reconnection, and addresses a broad audience of clinicians working on neural diseases and scientists studying materials for neural recording and/or repair.

Abstract of the chapter

Electric field stimulation protocols depend on the electrode material used, but the material characteristics are often not considered or sufficiently described for optimization. Furthermore, charge capacity is considered only in capacitor-like systems, without taking into account that intercalation materials offer an internal faradaic charge delivery advantage, with substantially less risk for biological systems.

This chapter describes new materials with high charge capacities, appropriate electric field protocols for using them, and examples of neural cultures that can be used to elucidate the biological effects of fields.

Mammalian neurons, neuron–astrocyte co-cultures, and amphibian spinal neurons are used in vitro, often as scratch wound models, to assess their potential for stimulating tissue repair. Importantly, remote control of dipoles induced in conducting implanted materials is shown to be a new promising approach and a breakthrough.

Preface of the chapter

The nervous system is, undoubtedly, the most complex system within our body. Besides integrating all the information coming from the outside and inside media, it orchestrates individual and collective responses of cells, tissues, and organs. The enormous anatomical and structural complexity of this system, along with the superior functions that it dictates, has hidden this body component behind a mist of darkness and mystery for many centuries. Since breakthrough discoveries at the beginning of the twentieth century by neuroscientists such as Ramón y Cajal and Golgi, Nobel laureates in 1906 for their contribution to the understanding of the nervous tissue structure, neuroscience, neurology, and neurosurgery have remarkably advanced the knowledge on the physiopathology of this system.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) remain a challenge for scientists and clinicians at all stages, from their basic pathophysiology and evolution over time to their response to eventual therapeutics and consequences. Indeed, it has been generally accepted that, due to the complexity and heterogeneity of these pathologies among individuals, TBI and SCI can be divided in groups of subpathologies. Thus, it would be more appropriate to refer to them in plural rather than as singular and uniform diseases. Patients suffering from TBI and SCI have been largely benefitting from progress in the medical practice, although advances in their cure are dramatically limited to date. In this scenario, novel and more advanced biomaterials are emerging as a savior table, with enhanced biocompatibility features and promising versatility for addressing patients’ heterogeneity, in line with the modern era of personalized medicine. The expectation is such that clinicians continue to invest efforts in clinical trials with biomaterial-based strategies.

Inspired by the enormous potential that this field is demonstrating, we compile in this book a selection of state-of-the-art topics related to engineered biomaterials primarily envisioned for the treatment of TBIs and SCIs. Chapters will first cover general aspects of the nervous system and their major traumatic pathological conditions. Specific advances in the use of biomaterials in this context, at both the nano- and macroscales, will be then presented. Final progress on novel orthotic and robotic therapies and implantable neural devices, as well as some auspicious diagnostic tools for the assessment of their morphological and functional effects,

To be continued!


Engineering Biomaterials for Neural Applications. Targeting Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
Chapter 5 (pages 99-125): Nanostructured Electroactive Materials with Large Charge Capacity: Direct Field Electrostimulation Through Connected and Non-connected Electrodes
Ed. Lopez-Dolado, Serrano MC, Springer Nature.
In press. 11/04/2022 release. Online available ,
Online: ISBN978-3-030-81400-7.
Print ISBN978-3-030-81399-4
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-81400-7_5


The present work has been financed by the Ministry of Science of Spain (MAT2015-65192-R and RTI2018-097753-B-I00), Fundació Marató TV3 (110130/31), Severo Ochoa Program (SEV-2015-0496 and CEX2019-000917-S) and EU grant FP6-2004-NEST-C1 028473. The authors thank J. Oró and F. Sandiumenge (ICMAB) and R. Arenal (INA) for TEM and HRTEM studies.

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