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Frey initiative research unit
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Urs Frey


Unit Leader

Urs Frey (D.Sci.)



Our lab focuses on bioelectronics and biosensors, a multidisciplinary research field at the interface between engineering, biology and nanotechnology. Next generation health-care devices, from lab-on-chip diagnostics, over neural interfaces to drug screening systems, will be powered by bioelectronics and have the potential to change how we interact with biological systems. The group's core competences are CMOS-integrated micro sensors for biological applications. We design and use high-resolution microelectrode arrays to interface with neuronal networks and advance the understanding of how neurons behave at a system level. We build advanced biosensors for performing quantitative measurements of single cells.

Research Topics

  • Bioelectronics for Neuroscience
  • IC Design for Sensor Interfaces
  • Nanofabrication and Biosensors

Selected Publications

  • Obien, M. E. J., Deligkaris, K., Bullmann, T., Bakkum, D. J. & Frey, U.
    Revealing neuronal function through microelectrode array recordings
    Front. Neurosci. 8 (2015) doi:10.3389/fnins.2014.00423
  • Ballini, M., Mueller, J., Livi, P., Chen, Y., Frey, U., Stettler, A., et al.
    A 1024-Channel CMOS Microelectrode Array With 26,400 Electrodes for Recording and Stimulation of Electrogenic Cells In Vitro
    IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits 49, 2705-2719 (2014) doi:10.1109/jssc.2014.2359219
  • Bakkum, D. J., Radivojevic, M., Frey, U., Franke, F., Hierlemann, A. & Takahashi, H.
    Parameters for burst detection
    Front. Comput. Neurosci. 7 (2014) doi:10.3389/fncom.2013.00193
  • Bakkum, D. J., Frey, U., Radivojevic, M., Russell, T. L., Mueller, J., Fiscella, M., et al.
    Tracking axonal action potential propagation on a high-density microelectrode array across hundreds of sites
    Nat. Commun. 4 (2013) doi:10.1038/ncomms3181
  • Fiscella, M., Farrow, K., Jones, I. L., Jaeckel, D., Mueller, J., Frey, U., et al.
    Recording from defined populations of retinal ganglion cells using a high-density CMOS-integrated microelectrode array with real-time switchable electrode selection
    J. Neurosci. Methods 211, 103-113 (2012) doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2012.08.017
  • Jaeckel, D., Frey, U., Fiscella, M., Franke, F. & Hierlemann, A.
    Applicability of independent component analysis on high-density microelectrode array recordings
    J. Neurophysiol. 108, 334-348 (2012) doi:10.1152/jn.01106.2011
  • Hierlemann, A., Frey, U., Hafizovic, S. & Heer, F.
    Growing Cells Atop Microelectronic Chips: Interfacing Electrogenic Cells In Vitro With CMOS-Based Microelectrode Arrays
    Proc. IEEE 99, 252-284 (2011) doi:10.1109/jproc.2010.2066532
  • Frey, U., Sedivy, J., Heer, F., Pedron, R., Ballini, M., Mueller, J., et al.
    Switch-Matrix-Based High-Density Microelectrode Array in CMOS Technology
    IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits 45, 467-482 (2010) doi:10.1109/jssc.2009.2035196
  • Frey, U., Egert, U., Heer, F., Hafizovic, S. & Hierlemann, A.
    Microelectronic system for high-resolution mapping of extracellular electric fields applied to brain slices
    Biosensors & Bioelectronics 24, 2191-2198 (2009) doi:10.1016/j.bios.2008.11.028
  • Frey, U., Graf, M., Taschini, S., Kirstein, K. & Hierlemann, A.
    A digital CMOS architecture for a micro-hotplate array
    IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits 42, 441-450 (2007) doi:10.1109/jssc.2006.889367