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BioCurrents Research Center

Mark Messerli

Center Overview

This center offers a suite of advanced technologies designed to follow the dynamic properties of living cells, particularly as these relate to molecular transport and pathophysiology. Developed in-house are several electrochemical noninvasive microelectrode applications (<10µm tip diameters) relying on drift and noise reduction by using a modulation technique, termed self-referencing. Using differential signal analysis, the center offers techniques that can measure chemical gradients surrounding single cells and tissues. Applications using potentiometry, voltammetry, and amperometry are available for the detection of ions (e.g., potassium, hydrogen, and calcium) as well as electrically active molecules (e.g., oxygen, nitric oxide, and hydrogen peroxide). Enzyme-assisted electrodes for the detection of molecules such as glucose and glutamate are also available.

Current Research

Instrument development includes improvement of the existing electrochemical systems, all targeted to operate at the level of a single cell. Additionally, the center is working on inclusion of more complex electrochemical detection techniques, fusion of sensor modalities in electro-optical systems, faster signal processing techniques, transporter expression and biophysical analysis in expression systems and bilayers, and probe development for air-exposed surfaces.

The center also supports most conventional electrophysiologic techniques working in conjunction with electrochemical detection, confocal microscopy, and other detection methods. Biological studies focus on the role of molecular transport in cell physiology and development with an emphasis on characterizing transport mechanisms and their role in basic biology and disease. Diseases of metabolism, the nervous system, and reproductive health have been a particular focus.


Molecular Motion, Pathophysiology