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Maxwell Centre

Event Type: 
Core programme events

                                                                    Bioelectronic tools to study the gut-brain axis


                                                                                                         Róisín M. Owens*

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge CB3 0AS, UK.

* Email:


The human gut microbiome has emerged as a key player in the bidirectional communication of the gut-brain axis, affecting various aspects of homeostasis and pathophysiology.

Professor Róisín Owens will take us along on her group’s journey towards a new generation of electronic tools, based on organic electronic materials, developed to understand the gut-brain-microbiome axis.


Until recently, the majority of studies that explore the mechanisms underlying the microbiome-gut-brain axis relied almost exclusively on animal models. Despite the great progress made with these models, various limitations, including ethical considerations and interspecies differences that limit the translatability of data to human systems, pushed researchers to seek for alternatives. Physiologically relevant in vitro human models, as well as advanced tools to study in vivo animal models, are urgently required.

Professor Owens will start by introducing her group’s progress in generating a complete platform of the human microbiota-gut-brain axis with integrated monitoring and sensing capabilities. This platform has been designed by bringing together principles of materials science, tissue engineering, 3D cell biology and bioelectronics, and has allowed the group to build advanced models of the gastrointestinal tract and brain, with integrated real-time and label-free electronic monitoring, aiming to elucidate the role of microbiota in the gut-brain axis communication. She will then talk about conformable electronic devices developed for both ex-situ measurements of GI tissue from rats, as well as in vivo experiments in live rats. These devices allow highly sensitive monitoring of impedance of the tissue (as an indicator of gut health) as well as the enteric nervous system.


4.30pm: Registration over coffee

5.00pm: Talk, followed by Q&A with Prof Róisín Owens

6.00pm: Networking over a glass of wine / juice

6.30pm: Event closes


These events are run termly by the Maxwell Centre and Cambridge Network and are aimed at an industrial audience to highlight cutting edge research with industrial application in the not so distant future.




A partnership: Maxwell Centre and Cambridge Network.


Wednesday, 25 January, 2023 - 17:00 to 19:00
Event location: 
Maxwell Centre