Bioelectronics are a broad class of devices that convert biological information into electronic currents or vice versa. Such systems give rise to bidirectional flows of information between humans and machines and serve as instrumental therapeutics and diagnostics. Examples include implantable medical devices (e.g. pacemakers, cochlear implants, neural probes), surgical tools, and scientific apparatus. To expand efficacy, utility, and new applications, innovation is needed in the structural and functional properties of bioelectronic devices and the materials that compose these devices. Challenges include improving biological-device interfaces for resolution and specificity and prolonging device operation in biological environments. This symposium will cover the latest innovative materials and fabrication strategies that blur distinctions between tissue and device.
Material advances borrowed from other fields, such as tissue engineering, tissues-on-chip, and neural engineering, are fueling innovation in bioelectronic devices. Advanced manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing and bioprinting, that expand the versatility of materials in device composition and give rise to novel device structures and function will be highlighted. Emerging approaches that integrate biomaterials (e.g. hydrogels, proteins), thin films and devices laden with cells that are incorporated either during or after fabrication will be explored. Basic studies of biological-electrical interfaces, which elucidate important materials and device design principles are also key areas to be covered. The symposium will bring together investigators from a range of disciplines and whose research spans the spectrum of these topics.