10/19/2005 - IMEC has set up a Neuro-Electronics Convergence laboratory, which is unique in Europe. Experts in molecular biology, cell biology, medicine, microelectronic engineering and physical sciences of IMEC, the Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven) will use this infrastructure containing multidisciplinary tools with the common goal of developing neuro-electronic systems. This kind of daily interaction is necessary to unleash the full potential of neuro-electronic hybrid systems for both medical and industrial applications.
"We believe that the creation of such a multidisciplinary laboratory is the best way to merge the expertise available in life sciences and in microelectronics and to make these distant worlds speak the same language," says Carmen Bartic, Team leader - Cell-Based Sensors & Systems. "The expertise on nano- and microtechnologies, available at IMEC will be complemented by the expertise of the VIB, the K.U.Leuven and the University Hospital of Leuven (UZ Leuven) on molecular biology, cell biology and medicine. Also, they will give specialized support concerning the necessary biosafety and regulatory affairs. These kinds of initiatives are essential to ensure fast progress in neuro-electronics and its implementation towards medical and industrial applications."
The neuro-electronics convergence lab provides facilities for semiconductor processing, nanotechnologies, biosensor fabrication, cell culture, molecular biology and electro-physiology. Research in the convergence lab covers two main topics:
This initiative builds further on IMEC's current expertise in neuro-electronics focusing on the development of field-effect transistors for the detection of electrical and chemical neuronal signals, on surface chemistry, and on guidance techniques for neurons by means of chemical and topographical cues.
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems. As an expansion of its wireless research, IMEC has created a legal entity in the Netherlands. Stichting IMEC Nederland runs activities at the Holst Centre, an independent R&D institute that develops generic technologies and technology platforms for autonomous wireless transducer solutions and systems-in-foil.
IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of about 1400 people includes close to 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2005, its revenues are estimated to be close to EUR 200 million.
VIB, the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, is a research institute where 850 scientists conduct gene technological research in a number of life-science domains, such as human health care and plant systems biology. Through a joint venture with four Flemish universities (Ghent University, the Catholic University of Leuven, the University of Antwerp, and the Free University of Brussels) and a solid funding program for strategic basic research, VIB unites the forces of nine university science departments in a single institute. Through its technology transfer activities, VIB strives to convert the research results into products for the benefit of consumers and patients. VIB also distributes scientifically substantiated information about all aspects of biotechnology to a broad public.
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