A potential future personalised device Left: A patient self-administrating treatment (e.g. PD/EPI) through an OptoElectrical DBS bio-implant by remote control. Right: The envisaged OptoElectrical waveguide (OEW) serves both as a cell carrier for cell replacement, an actuator for optogenetic stimulation, and an electrical/electrochemical sensor for measurements, confirming proper operation/administration of the therapy: Highlighted areas: (A) a nanophotonic crystal-based leaky optical waveguide (LOW) used to (B) optically stimulate light sensitive grafted cells (blue light for PD and orange for epilepsy) (C) growing on a conducting 3D-carbon scaffold, encapsulating the LOW


Training4CRM addresses gaps in Cell-based Regenerative Medicine (CRM) for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Parkinson´s (PD), Huntington´s (HD) Epilepsy (EPI)), which occur as a result of progressive loss of structure, function and/or death of neurons in the brain. These disorders have a high prevalence and are associated with short- and long-term impairments and disabilities with high emotional, financial and social burden to the patients, their families and friends.

The Training4CRM ETN program will offer training in transferable skills and inter-disciplinary research training in micro- and nanoengineering, biotechnology and pre-clinical research at the highest international level and quality, delivering 15 highly skilled and motivated young researchers, that will be attractive and immediately employable in both the academic and industrial sector due to their highly sought after cross-/interdisciplinary insights and expertise.


The main objective of Training4CRM is to train a new generation of 15 young highly inter-disciplinary early stage researchers (ESRs), capable of mastering techniques and methods across the borders of their own disciplines, and to recognize ideas applicable to their own work. Moreover, through experience of learning with and from those of other professions, to have equipped them with unique leadership qualities and respect for others’ cultures, well prepared for work on teams and in settings where collaboration is key to success.

The science

Training4CRM sets out with the ambition to educate and train students within and across different scientific disciplines to be able to master the design, fabrication and testing of completely new tools and materials within the fields of:

  • Micro- and Nanoengineering, offering the opportunity to develop: (a) nano/microstructures, 3D scaffolds and 3D lab-on-a-chip (3D LOCs) devices of different materials, geometries, architectures and properties, resulting in functional properties that sometimes are unique to the engineered material/device that will be used to build sensors with unique hybrid properties and for more in vivo-like 3D artificial tissue/organs systems and implants, (b) wireless electronic components, opening up to the field of wireless controlled medical devices that are emerging to improve quality of life, giving the possibility for patients to better manage their disease/health and for doctors to remotely diagnose and care for their patients.
  • Biotechnology with focus on: (a) Human stem cells (hSCs), which have uncovered new opportunities for cellular re-programming into so-called human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), permitting in principle the growth of an almost unlimited supply of a patient´s own cells, potentially conferring the ability to grow and regenerate tissues and organs from ‘self’. Human neural stem cells (hNSCs) and neural precursor cells derived from hiPSCs (hNPCs) show great promise for regenerative medicine and gene and cell replacement therapy of neurological disorders (b) Optogenetics - a ground breaking technique, combining optics and genetics to control the function of individual neurons at in vitro and in vivo conditions, that has emerged as a tool that enables the stimulation and inhibition of specific cell populations in the brain in a more precise and selective way in contrast to using macro-electrodes for electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS). (c) Tissue engineering to build artificial model tissue/organs and implants for regenerative and personalised medicine by combining the developments within hSCs technology and micro and nanoengineering.
  • Pre-clinical studies for the purpose of investigating in vivo, in experimental animals, how the developed cells, materials, structures, and ultimately how devices affect the animal at the physiological and behavioural levels, unravelling the therapeutic effects of the developed strategies.

The specific scientific and technological objectives are to develop:

  • Genetically modified hSCs (hiPSC and hNSCs) for optogenetic control of neurotransmitter release and host-regulated Therapeutic (Th) Factor production.
  • Nano- and microstructures and perfusable 3D scaffolds with different topographies, architectures and material properties for application as instructive differentiation cues, Cell Carrier Scaffolds (CCS), ThF Factor Delivery Systems (FDS) based on interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs), OptoElectrical Waveguides (OEWs) functioning as combined optical actuator and electrical/electrochemical sensor.
  • Wireless electronics to control light actuation and electrical-/electrochemical sensing (new memristive based bioimpedance/amperometry) using miniaturised sensors and OEWs for characterisation and growth of tissue and electrochemically monitoring of neurotransmitters.
  • 3D LOCs system for perfusion control of growth and monitoring of brain models in CCS and FDS, e.g. generating patient specific artificial implants using de-and recellularization technology, expansion of “mini-brains” towards “small brains”.
  • Pre-clinical trials with project generated implants (hSC, CCS, FDS, OEW) in different animal models and in vivo monitoring using developed sensing tools. 
24 MAY 2018