Tzahi Cohen-Karni: How Cells “Talk” to Each Other in a Cellular Arrangement

Tzahi Cohen-Karni: How Cells “Talk” to Each Other in a Cellular Arrangement


In the last four years, my team has been trying to realize how cells communicate and “talk” to each other. Basically, for many years, researchers cultured
cells in two dimensions and explored their electrophysiology in two dimensions. We are trying to explore electrophysiology
in a native-like state, in 3D. This is where the spheroids come into play. So, we are trying to come up with an approach
that will allow us to look into cell communication in a benign way in three dimensions. In order to do so, we’ve developed this
platform. This platform goes beyond just recording electrical
signals in 3D. What we are currently interested in is essentially
their ability to follow how electrophysiology changes over time. This is, in essence, looking into development—tissue
development. So, if you start with embryonic-like tissue,
we want to see how the properties change as time goes. So, more like a time-lapse experiment. Other techniques give snapshots of the state
of the tissue; we want to look at it continuously. We want to see if we can affect this tissue. Can we form input/output with this tissue
and send in signals and see how it affects the development? We want to develop these and extend these,
I have to admit, to different types of tissues and look into the development of different
types of tissues, such as brain tissue or neural spheres, essentially. We want to look into toxicity, drug-screening
using these platforms. So it goes way beyond just recording tissue. The way I see it in the future, other labs
will be able to prepare these devices or these platforms and use it for their own research. Essentially everything will be shared with
them, so they can make these devices and use these ideas to answer questions within their
own realm, I have to admit. So they can dig in biology using self-rolled
sensors. The biggest challenge we are facing now is
to take the platform and let it stay in culture for a long time and still keep a fully functional,
high-channel count for a month, two months, up to a year, let’s say. Recording signals in 3D will have an impact
on human health, such as disease investigation or drug development.

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