3DNeuroN is an international collaborative research project funded from the European Commission’s prestigious Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) scheme with the total budget of 4 million Euros for 1.7.2012–31.12.2014. The project is coordinated by Tampere University of Technology, Finland.

Our view is that the biological and computational components and the concepts of realized BIO-ICT interactions have lacked so far the complexity of the actual high level biological neural systems. Our vision is that three key features are needed for biological computational neuronal networks: 1. Actual 3D structures of neuronal cells and networks, 2. interactions between various types of neuronal cells, and finally, 3. organized layered and patterned 3D microstructure of neuronal tissue.

We aim to construct an in vitro model of a 3D neuronal network with layered biomaterial and multi-cell-type neural structure derived from human stem cells while stimulating and closely monitoring the evolution of cells and their connections. We will stimulate the novel 2D and 3D neuronal networks and layered structures also with modeled human auditory sensory inputs, and measure and model the responses and changes of the network topology and dynamics. With these we aim to reach the unproven concept of making the transition from neuronal 2D cultures to 3D controlled multi-cell-type neuronal structures in vitro that mimic the actual in vivo 3D development of neuronal dynamics and finally to reach a deeper understanding on the function of human 3D neuronal networks such as the cortical column.

The project is based on cellular, biointerface, bioelectronics, and ICT technology. Novel stem cell and biomimetic technologies provide us a way to grow different human neural cell types for 3D neuronal networks. Novel biomaterials, microelectronics, and ICT modeling will provide the control and analysis power to see the functional dynamics of the constructs.

Our in vitro 3D model will provide a new level of elaboration. In addition to biological and clinical outcomes, the basic knowledge gained on the organization and functioning of the 3D neuronal cell networks have potential for applications in the discipline of artificial neuronal networks, and will result in BIO-ICT convergence.

3DNeuroN in EU Research Projects