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Microtubes create cozy space for neurons to grow, and grow fast


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison created the microtube platform to study neuron growth. They posit that the microtubes could one day be implanted like stents to promote neuron regrowth at injury sites or to treat disease.

“This is a powerful three-dimensional platform for neuron culture,” said Xiuling Li, U. of I. professor of electrical and computer engineering who co-led the study along with UW-Madison professor Justin Williams. “We can guide, accelerate and measure the process of neuron growth, all at once.”

The team published the results in the journal ACS Nano
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