Representative Publications & Projects

    Representative Publications

    J1. Y. Chahibi, I. F. Akyildiz, and I. Balasingham. Propagation Modeling and Analysis of Molecular Motors in Molecular Communication. IEEE Transactions on NanoBioscience, 2016;15(8):917 – 927.

     Molecular motor networks (MMNs) are networks constructed from molecular motors to enable nanomachines to perform coordinated tasks of sensing, computing, and actuation at the nano- and micro- scales. Living cells are naturally enabled with this same mechanism to establish point-to-point communication between different locations inside the cell. Similar to a railway system, the cytoplasm contains an intricate infrastructure of tracks, named microtubules, interconnecting different internal components of the cell. Motor proteins, such as kinesin and dynein, are able to travel along these tracks directionally, carrying with them large molecules that would otherwise be unreliably transported across the cytoplasm using free diffusion. Molecular communication has been previously proposed for the design and study of MMNs. However, the topological aspects of MMNs, including the effects of branches, have been ignored in the existing studies. In this paper, a physical end-to-end model for MMNs is developed, considering the location of the transmitter node, the network topology, and the receiver nodes. The end-to-end gain and group delay are considered as the performance measures, and analytical expressions for them are derived. The analytical model is validated by Monte-Carlo simulations and the performance of MMNs is analyzed numerically. It is shown that, depending on their nature and position, MMN nodes create impedance effects that are critical for the overall performance. This model could be applied to assist the design of artificial MMNs and to study cargo transport in neurofilaments to elucidate brain diseases related to microtubule jamming.

    J2. M. Veletic, P. A. Floor, Y. Chahibi, and I. Balasingham. On the Upper Bound of the Information Capacity in Neuronal Synapses. IEEE Transactions on Communications, 2016;64(12):5025—5036

    Neuronal communication is a biological phenomenon of the central nervous system that influences the activity of all intra-body nano-networks. The implicit biocompatibility and dimensional similarity of neurons with miniature devices make their interaction a promising communication paradigm for nano-networks. To understand the information transfer in neuronal networks, there is a need to characterize the noise sources and unreliability associated with different components of the functional apposition between two cells-the synapse. In this paper, we introduce analogies between the optical communication system and the neuronal communication system to apply results from optical Poisson channels in deriving theoretical upper bounds on the information capacity of both the bipartite and tripartite synapses. The latter refer to the anatomical and functional integration of two communicating neurons and surrounding glia cells. The efficacy of information transfer is analyzed under different synaptic setups with progressive complexity, and is shown to depend on the peak rate of the communicated spiking sequence and neurotransmitter (spontaneous) release, neurotransmitter propagation, and neurotransmitter binding. The results provided serve as a progressive step in the evaluation of the performance of neuronal nano-networks and the development of new artificial nano-networks.

    J3. M. Veletic, P. A. Floor, Z. Babic, and I. Balasingham. Peer-to-Peer Communication in Neuronal Nano-Network. IEEE Transactions on Communications, 2016;64(3):1153–1164.

     Serving as peers in the central nervous system, neurons make use of two communication paradigms, electrochemical, and molecular. Owing to their effective coordination of all the voluntary and involuntary actions of the body, an intriguing neuronal communication nominates as a potential paradigm for nano-networking. In this paper, we propose an alternative representation of the neuron-to-neuron communication process, which should offer a complementary insight into the electrochemical signals propagation. To this end, we apply communication-engineering tools and abstractions, represent information about chemical and ionic behavior with signals, and observe biological systems as input-output systems characterized by a frequency response. In particular, we inspect the neuron-to-neuron communication through the concepts of electrochemical communication, which we refer to as the intra-neuronal communication due to the pulse transmission within the cell, and molecular synaptic transmission, which we refer to as the inter-neuronal communication due to particle transmission between the cells. The inter-neuronal communication is explored by means of the transmitter, the channel, and the receiver, aiming to characterize the spiking propagation between neurons. Reported numerical results illustrate the contribution of each stage along the neuronal communication pathway, and should be useful for the design of a new communication technique for nano-networks and intrabody communications.

    J4. F. Mesiti, P. A. Floor, and I. Balasingham. Astrocyte to Neuron Communication Channels with Applications. IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological and Multi-Scale Communications, 2015;1(2):164 – 175.

    Bioinspired communication techniques are emerging with increasing interest in parallel with recent advancements of nanotechnology. Particular interest is observed in the development of neuronal interfaces for human-machine communication and nanoscale neuronal devices. We propose a novel description of the communication pathways existing in the neuronal circuits, based on the abstract dynamics between different components of the neuronal communication. In the analysis, a critical role is played by glia cells, such as the astrocytes, which support and actively modulate the neuronal activity of adjacent neurons, as shown in experiments conducted the last decades. For this reason, the concept of tripartite synapse, where two neurons are interfaced with the astrocyte, is central in our abstraction. First, we define the layers of the bidirectional neuron-astrocyte communication and describe mathematically the relations connecting different quantities, i.e., intracellular molecular concentrations and currents produced on the cellular membrane. Second, the astrocytic Ca2+ signaling is investigated for the design of a neuronal communication interface based on the propagation of calcium waves through the astrocytic network. The proposed analysis provides an organized framework for an alternative description of the synaptic communication as well as for aiding the development of artificial biomimetic devices and prostheses.

    J5. F. Mesiti and I. Balasingham. Nanomachine-to-Neuron Communication Interfaces for Neuronal Stimulation at Nanoscale. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications - Special Issue on Emerging Technologies in Communications, 2013;31(12):695 – 705.

     The recent advancements in nanotechnology have been instrumental in initiating research and development of intelligent nanomachines, in a variety of different application domains including healthcare. The stimulation of the cerebral cortex to assist the treatment of brain diseases have been investigated with growing interest in the past, where nanotechnology offers a dramatic breakthrough. In this paper, we discuss the feasibility of a nanomachine-to-neuron interface to design a nanoscale stimulator device called synaptic nanomachine (SnM), compatible with the neuronal communication paradigm. An equivalent neuron-nanomachine model (EqNN) is proposed to describe the behavior of neurons excited by a network of SnMs. Sample populations of neurons are simulated under different stimulation scenarios. The assessment of the existing correlation between SnM stimulus and response, as well as between neurons and clusters of neurons, has been performed using statistical methods. The obtained results reveal that a controlled nanoscale stimulation induces apparently an oscillatory behavior in the neuronal activity and localized synchronization between neurons. Both effects are expected to have the basis of important cognitive and behavioral functions such as learning and brain plasticity.

    Representative Projects

    P1. Wireless In-body Sensor and Actuator Networks (WINNOW), Research Council of Norway, 01.05.2017 – 30.04.2021, budget NOK 16 million (€1.75 million). Project Manager/PI: Dr. Balasingham 

    The project studies synthetic cardiomyocytes encapsulated in nanoscale wireless implants using calcium signals for information transfer and develops truly the future leadless pacemaker that can be programmed remotely and last for more than 10 years without battery replacement.

    P2. Wireless In-Body Environment (WiBEC), H2020- MARIE Skodowska-CURIE ACTIONS (MSCA-ITN-2015), 01.01.2016-31.12.2019, budget €3.957 million. Coordinator: Dr. Balasingham

    The project studies intra-body sensor networks for future leadless pacemaker and monitoring bleeding and cancer in gastrointestinal track using a combination of human body and RF technologies.

    P3. Medical Sensing, Localization, and Communications using Ultra Wideband Technology (MELODY II), Research Council of Norway, 01.01.2013 - 31.12.2017, budget NOK 14.7 million (€ 1.6 million). Project Manager/PI: Dr. Balasingham

    The project designed a wireless in-body communication system for future wireless HD video capsule endoscopy and demonstrated a working prototype in animal studies. It is envisioned the results can facilitate population ide screening application. The project has produced 14 papers, filed 1 patent application, and 2 PhDs and 2 Postdocs.

    P4. Medical Sensing, Localization, and Communications using Ultra Wideband Technology (MELODY I), Research Council of Norway, 01.09.2008 - 31.12.2012, budget NOK 36 million (€ 4 million). Project Manager/PI: Dr. Balasingham

    The project designed and developed ultra wideband RF technology and demonstrated 1) non-contact sensing of central blood pressure and heart rate, 2) 2D heart imaging, and 3) localizing and tracking wireless capsule endoscopy. The published 100 papers, filed 3 patents, and produced 7 PhDs and 4 Postdocs.

    Energy + Data

    External Control Unit

    Transponder including blood pressure sensor

    P5. Invivo Ultrasonic Transponder System for Biomedical Applications (ULTRASPONDER) European Union 7th Framework Program, STREP, 01.09.2008 -31.08.2011, budget € 4.5 million. WP Leader: Dr. Balasingham  

    The project developed a ultrasound based wireless communication and power transfer for implants and demonstrated the results for heart implants in animals.

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