I'm trying to go back to school to do a PhD in control theory, specifically concerned with control of glucose. The glucose system can be controlled using two chemicals: insulin and glucagon. I was wondering if there was any precedent for controlling the active transport of a chemical across a membrane using a tiny electric current. Has this ever been done?

The reason I ask is that I want to avoid relying on mechanical systems that are prone to being bogged down by attacks from the native immune system.

Any knowledge on the subject/recommendations for attacking this problem/alternative subreddits or websites would be greatly welcomed.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology. Electroporation is an example where DNA is injected into a cell using a (high?) current. But I think it works only with charged particles. Glucose is uncharged. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Oct 4 '15 at 23:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info. The glucose wouldn't need to be injected anywhere per se, just "let go" from a reservoir into the blood stream. $\endgroup$ Oct 5 '15 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ You may want to take a look at some of the research behind insulin pumps. I don't know the specifics, but I know they use a lot of closed-loop control, and are a fairly active area of research (but potentially difficult to get into--some people have been working on control problems related to glucose since at least the 80's). $\endgroup$ Oct 5 '15 at 5:28

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