Electrical signals–currents and voltages produced by cells–are ubiquitous in coordinating and maintaining everyday life: from sensing, transmitting, and interpreting information in our sensory and nervous tissue, to initiation of contraction in muscles.
Moreover, electrical currents have been widely documented in developing embryos and in wounds. An interesting area, and the topic of my research, involves investigating the potential role for electrical signals in tissue engineering: directing cellular differentiation, tissue growth, repair and regeneration. This research bridges many fields, including developmental and cell biology, electrical engineering, and electrochemistry.
Below, on the top, is a video showing an engineered piece of cardiac tissue (approximately 0.5cm x 0.5cm in size). On the bottom is another video of a similar piece of engineered piece of cardiac tissue (approximately 0.5cm x 0.5cm in size) except it was cultured in the presence of electrical stimulation (3 pulses per second, 3 V/cm, 2ms, 1Hz) for 5 days…look how much better it beats!