Modulating cell signalling in vivo with magnetic nanotransducers


Weak magnetic fields offer nearly lossless transmission of signals within biological tissue. Magnetic nanomaterials are capable of transducing magnetic fields into a range of biologically relevant signals in vitro and in vivo. These nanotransducers have recently enabled magnetic control of cellular processes, from neuronal firing and gene expression to programmed apoptosis. Effective implementation of magnetically controlled cellular signalling relies on careful tailoring of magnetic nanotransducers and magnetic fields to the responses of the intended molecular targets. This Primer discusses the versatility of magnetic modulation modalities and offers practical guidelines for selection of appropriate materials and field parameters, with a particular focus on applications in neuroscience. With recent developments in magnetic instrumentation and nanoparticle chemistries, including those that are commercially available, magnetic approaches promise to empower research aimed at connecting molecular and cellular signalling to physiology and behaviour in untethered moving subjects.

Nature Reviews Methods Primers
Gabriela Romero
Assistant Professor at University of Texas San Antonio
Jimin Park
Assistant Professor at KAIST
Florian Koehler
Florian Koehler
Graduate Student


Polina Anikeeva
Polina Anikeeva
Professor in Materials Science and Engineering
Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Associate Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics

My goal is to combine the current knowledge of biology and nanoelectronics to develop materials and devices for minimally invasive treatments for neurological and neuromuscular diseases.