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MultiChannel Systems MCS GmbH was founded in 1996 and is based in the Science and Technology Park in Reutlingen in Southwest Germany. The company is as subsidiary of Havard Bioscience Inc. since Oct. 2014. Three major product lines demonstrate the core competences of MultiChannel Systems - to develop innovative instruments and software for various electrophysiological applications: i) systems for in vitro measurements of extracellular activity from excitable cells with the help of micro electrode arrays, ii) in vivo recording systems for extracellular recordings (both, tethered and wireless), iii) fully automated recording systems for two electrode voltage clamp (Roboocyte) or semi-automated patch clamp recordings (PatchServer). MCS is involved in several research initiatives aiming at the development of new materials and technical procedures for the generation of innovative MEA products. These include the BrainCom project, where new organic materials are tested for their ability to improve electrodes for large recording arrays, and several projects aiming at the development of improved multi-channel recording devices for in vitro and in vivo applications (for examples, see project list).

Description the partner’s main task in IN-FET

MCS will provide integration on existing commercial platforms for in vitro electrophysiology, of the IN-FET devices. It will specifically provide, electronics, firm- and software for the operation of the newly developed nano- and microstructured devices. This includes integration to amplification electronics, built from discrete electronic components. In addition, user-friendly software will be developed to enable project partners to successfully use the newly developed system. MCS will contribute mostly in WP1 but also provide expert help and devices for the experimental work in WP3.

Description and CV of the personnel carrying out the project Karl-Heinz Boven (male): studied physics in Tübingen and worked on neuronal interfaces already in his diploma thesis. In 1989, he became CEO for development at Schärfe Systeme in Reutlingen. In 1996, he founded Multi Channel Systems together with Andreas Möller. His expertise is the development of high-end electronics and accessories for electrophysiological recordings. He is also experienced in managing R&D projects.

List of previous projects/activities relevant for IN-FET

  • DREPHOS, BMBF ‘Methodenentwicklung’, Dreidimensionale elektrophysiologische und optogenetische Systeme und Methoden zur Untersuchung zellulärer Schaltkreise in Zell- und Gewebe-verbänden
  • InForMed, ENIAC/ECSEL, An integrated pilot line for micro-fabricated medical devices
  • InHEALTH, EuroTransBio, Innovative high throughput high content neurotoxicity assay based on human adipose tissue-derived stem cells
  • FlexiTelSonde, KMU innovativ Medizintechnik, Multiparametrisches telemetrisches Gewebemonitoring – Flexible Mikrosensorsonde zur kontinuierlichen Überwachung nach mikrochirurgischem Gewebetransfer
  • C4HEALTH, ERANET, Transparent Carbon-based electrodes for in-vitro and in-vivo biomedical and life sciences applications

Description of infrastructures relevant for IN-FET

MCS has in-house resources enabling the company to develop, test and produce high-end amplifiers for recording of activity of various excitable cells, and to act as an OEM-supplier for companies that distribute implants for human use (RetinaImplant AG). MCS’s resources include CAD workstations for electronic design, 3-D CAD workstations for mechanical parts, workstations for FPGA programming, workstations for software development, high-end measurement equipment (multichannel oscilloscopes, digital analysers etc.), and various MEA workstations.

List of selected relevant publications

  • Kumar A, Vlachos I, Aertsen A, Boucsein C (2013) Challenges of understanding brain function by selective modulation of neuronal subpopulations. Trends Neurosci; 36(10):579-86
  • Hofmann F, Bading H (2006) Long term recordings with microelectrode arrays: studies of transcription-dependent neuronal plasticity and axonal regeneration. J Physiol. Paris.; 99 (2-3):125-32
  • Arnold FJ, Hofmann F, Bengtson CP, Wittmann M, Vanhoutte P, Bading H (2005) Microelectrode array recordings of cultured hippocampal networks reveal a simple model for transcription and protein synthesis-dependent plasticity. J Physiol.; 564 (Pt 1):3-19
  • Meyer T, Boven KH, Günther E, Fejtl M (2004) Micro-electrode arrays in cardiac safety pharmacology: a novel tool to study QT interval prolongation. Drug Saf 2004; 27 (11):763-72.
  • Hofmann F, Guenther E, Hämmerle H, Leibrock C, Berezin V, Bock E, Volkmer H (2004) Functional re-establishment of the perforant pathway in organotypic co-cultures on microelectrode arrays. Brain Res; 1017 (1-2):184-96.

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