Researchers at Stanford University have created a nanoscale probe that can be implanted into a cell wall without damaging the wall. The probe can then be used to listen to electrical signals within the cell, as well as possibly provide a way to attach neural prosthetics or to insert medication inside the cell. According to Nick Melosh, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering in whose lab the research was done, “the key design feature of the probe is that it mimics natural gateways in the cell membrane. The probes fuse into the membranes spontaneously and form good, strong junctions there."
Melosh and Benjamin Almquist, a graduate student in materials science and engineering, are coauthors of a paper describing the research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.