Navigation Links
Researchers design artificial cells that could power medical implants
Date:10/9/2008

Researchers at Yale University have created a blueprint for artificial cells that are more powerful and efficient than the natural cells they mimic and could one day be used to power tiny medical implants.

The scientists began with the question of whether an artificial version of the electrocyte the energy-generating cells in electric eels could be designed as a potential power source. "The electric eel is very efficient at generating electricity," said Jian Xu, a postdoctoral associate in Yale's Department of Chemical Engineering. "It can generate more electricity than a lot of electrical devices."

Xu came up with the first blueprint that shows how the electrocyte's different ion channels work together to produce the fish's electricity while he was a graduate student under former Yale assistant professor of mechanical engineering David LaVan, now at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

But the scientists didn't stop there. "We're still trying to understand how the mechanisms in these cells work," said LaVan. "But we asked ourselves: 'Do we know enough to sit down and start thinking about how to build these things?' Nobody had really done that before."

Using the new blueprint as a guide, LaVan and Xu set about designing an artificial cell that could replicate the electrocyte's energy production. "We wanted to see if nature had already optimized the power output and energy conversion efficiency of this cell," said Xu. "And we found that an artificial cell could actually outperform a natural cell, which was a very surprising result."

The artificial cell LaVan and Xu modeled is capable of producing 28 percent more electricity than the eel's own electrocyte, with 31 percent more efficiency in converting the cell's chemical energy derived from the eel's food into electricity.

While eels use thousands of electrocytes to produce charges of up to 600 volts, LaVan and Xu show it would be possible to create a smaller "bio-battery" using several dozen artificial cells. The tiny bio-batteries would only need to be about -inch thick to produce the small voltages needed to power tiny electrical devices such as retinal implants or other prostheses.

Although the engineers came up with a design, it will still be some time before the artificial cells are actually built. For one thing, they still need a power source before they could start producing electricity. LaVan speculates the cells could be powered in a way similar to their natural counterparts. It's possible, he said, that bacteria could be employed to recycle ATP responsible for transferring energy within the cell using glucose, a common source of chemical energy derived from food.

With an energy source in place, the artificial cells could one day power medical implants and would provide a big advantage over battery-operated devices. "If it breaks, there are no toxins released into your system," said Xu. "It would be just like any other cell in your body."


'/>"/>

Contact: Suzanne Taylor Muzzin
suzanne.taylormuzzin@yale.edu
203-432-8555
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
2. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
3. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
4. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
5. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
6. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
7. Researchers discover new strategies for antibiotic resistance
8. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
9. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
10. UIC researchers find promising new targets for antibiotics
11. Researchers develop simple method to create natural drug products
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/28/2016)... 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading developer ... quarter ended December 31, 2015. --> ... 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the comparable quarter last year ... 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted share. ... the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over the ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , Jan. 22, 2016 ... addition of the "Global Biometrics Market ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ... "Global Biometrics Market in Retail Sector ... --> Research and Markets ( ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... , Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua Inc., ... that simplifies the use and access of ubiquitous ... go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber initiatives ... integrating the latest proven technology solutions," said ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Curoverse announced today that the ... provides capabilities for managing and processing genomic and health data at petabyte scale. ... collecting and analyzing genomic data,” said Adam Berrey chief executive officer at Curoverse. ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 ... ... and design services and current winner of the Highest Overall Customer Rating ... certification in all of its business units across the USA, Canada, Mexico and ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... ... Date and time: March 1, 2016, 5:30 p.m. to ... of Bucks County, 3805 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18902. , The Baruch ... house for participants to learn about a new Master of Biomedical Science (MBS) ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... , ... Tunnell Consulting, Inc. announced that Frédéric Lefebvre has joined the firm ... new accounts and work closely with existing Tunnell clients throughout Europe to ensure their ... clients more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, a thorough knowledge ...
Breaking Biology Technology: