From Nanonetwork Applications to Nervous System Disorders

Start Date and End Date

01 March 2014
28 February 2019

Turkish Partner(s)

Koç University


Prof. Dr. Özgür Barış Akan


1.75 Million Euros


Horizon2020 ERC

Project Web Page

Scientific Outputs

The aims of the MINERVA project are to develop a nano-network simulator to pre-detect nervous system disorders that stem from communication problems and to develop nano-implants with communication capacities to help finding a cure for currently incurable spinal cord paralysis.

The project will try to understand the human body which is a large- scale communication network of molecular nanonetworks composed of billions of nanomachines, through communication and network theories.

The work carried out within the scope of the project and the targeted basic outputs can be summarized as follows:

  1. The communication theoretical foundations of nanoscale neuro-spike communication channels between neurons. Theoretical modelling and channel parameters based performance based analysis of the nano-conduction between a single receiver and a single transmitter (in other words a pair of neurons) will be performed.  These analyzes will be repeated with various neuron types that are different in design, thus,  investigating noise affecting communication, error probability in information transmission, reliable communication speed, delay in information transmission and communication capacity. This will reveal the basic limits of these performance metrics
  2. Examination of multi-terminal neuro-spike nano-conduction channels and nerve nano-grafts: Multiple access, relay, and broadcast and neuro-spike channels are analyzed by modeling nano-graft networks. In the first time, the link, media access, information steering, and reliable information dissemination mechanisms of a nano network in the human body are being investigated.
  3. Verification of models and design of nervous nano-network simulator:  Verification is made by comparing the designed neuro-spike channel and network with experimental human body data obtained in the physiology literature. The aim is to developing a nervous nano-network simulator with the help of validated models and experimental physiology data. This simulator, which will be a first, can be used in the development of the research and treatment methods of the basic causes of neural diseases that caused by communication problems, such as MS, stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Finally, within the scope of this project the first nanoscale bio-inspired communication system for ICT-inspired neuro-treatment for spinal cord injury will be developed, i.e., nanoscale artificial synapse, which will mimic neuron behaviour by realising both electrical and nanoscale molecular communications.

Tackling ‘grand’ or societal challenges

Industrial Innovation (including innovation in services as well as products and processes)

As a result of the interdisciplinary approach covering communication engineering, basic sciences and nanotechnology emerging from the MINERVA project, advanced telecommunication technologies for communication problem based nervous system diseases and the next-generation detection and treatment methods will be pioneered. Furthermore, this project will pave the way for the realisation of emerging nanonetwork applications with significant societal impact, e.g., intra-body networks for health monitoring, drug delivery, chemical and biological attack prevention systems. The project will help develop the future ICT-inspired treatment techniques for communication related neural disorders.

Research-influenced changes in policy, agenda-setting

The provision of Improved Public Goods

The improved exercise of professional skill

Human capital development

One post-doctoral researcher, 7 doctoral students and 1 graduate student are employed within the scope of the project.