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INSPIRE Grant Report by PhD Student Bergoi Ibarlucea - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA, USA

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The Inspire Grant gave me the opportunity to spend a month in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA, USA), an institution with more than half century of history. My host group was Prof. Alex Noy’s Bioelectronics and Nanofluidics Group. They have a large experience interfacing biological elements and electronic circuits, including the analysis of transport through artificial pores created by inserting carbon nanotubes in lipid membranes, and published in the highly prestigious journals Science and Nature. The group members were very open and sociable, which helped to easily adapt from the very first day.

The objective of my stay was to study the possibility of integrating supported lipid bilayers on the surface of our highly sensitive silicon nanowire-based field-effect transistors (SiNW-FETs) used in the SiNW path of cfaed, in order to analyse the function of embedded ion channels. This would be critical for further studies involving the cells’ internal signalling, cell-to-cell communication and toxins or antibiotics that have their mechanism of action at the membrane. The stay was fruitful not only for learning the techniques to obtain the bilayers and to characterize their quality on our nanowire surfaces, but also to understand the optimal conditions for the operation of our electrical devices with the lipid coat.

I could not only perform part of my research there, but also take part in their weekly group meetings and share my past results that led to some publications with the cfaed. Besides working, although I was staying in the extremely quiet city of Livermore, I could enjoy a couple of visits to San Francisco, a beautiful city with the Golden Gate and the island of Alcatraz.

Report by Bergoi Ibarlucea, cfaed PhD student at the Nanowire Research Group in the Silicon Nanowire (SiNW) Path, under the supervision of Dr. Walter Weber.

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