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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Dr. Maria Asplund

Dr. Maria Asplund

Universität Freiburg
Microsystems engineering
Junior Fellow
October 2011 - September 2014


Maria Asplund studied Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Linköping, Sweden (1997-2003). After the diploma she continued with a PhD at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (2003-2009) in the group of prof. von Holst. The focus of the PhD project was conjugated conducting polymers as a means to improve neural interfaces. The polymer development was conducted in close collaboration with the group of prof. Inganäs (Linköping University), and biological evaluations of the material was performed together with Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. Following the PhD, Maria Asplund continued to work as a Senior Researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology. Subsequent projects have ranged from continued work with conducting polymer electrodes to experimental work on cellular behaviour in electrical fields. Maria Asplund is a member of the Centre for Organic Bioelectronics (OBOE) since 2005, funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.
In Oct 2011 Maria Asplund was appointed as a Junior Fellow at the FRIAS School of Soft Matter Research. Her continued work at FRIAS aims to address specific problems at neural implants with conducting polymer technology. The ambition is to investigate the performance of the polymer materials for specific applications to fully understand to which extent these materials can contribute to the success of a neural implant. This work is carried out in collaboration with Prof. Stieglitz at IMTEK Freiburg. Since April 2013 Maria Asplund is also appointed a Junior Group Leader for the Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools at the University of Freiburg.


Selected Publications


  • Boehler C, Stieglitz S, Asplund M, “Design and Evaluation of PEDOT:Dex Based Drug Delivery Coatings for Neural Implant Electrodes”, Materials Research Society Spring Meeting 2013 Presentation QQ4.04
  • Asplund, M, Nyberg T, Inganäs O, "Electroactive polymers for neural interfaces." Polym. Chem., (2010), 1(9): 1374-1391.
  • Thaning E, Asplund M, Nyberg T, Inganäs O and von Holst H, “Stability of PEDOT materials intended for implants”, J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater, (2010), 93(2) pp. 407-415.
  • Asplund M, Thaning E, Lundberg J, Sandberg-Nordqvist AC, Kostyszyn B, Inganas O and von Holst H, “Toxicity evaluation of PEDOT/biomolecular composites intended for neural communication electrodes”, Biomedical Materials, (2009), 4(4)
  • Asplund M, Nilsson M, Jacobsson A and von Holst H, Incidence of traumatic peripheral nerve injuries and amputations in Sweden between 1998 and 2006, Neuroepidemiology, (2009), 32 (3), pp. 217-228
  • Asplund M, von Holst H and Inganäs O, Composite biomolecule/PEDOT materials for neural electrodes, Biointerphases, (2008), 3 (3), pp. 83-93



FRIAS Research Project

Conducting polymers for neural interfaces

Within the framework of FRIAS, Maria Asplund continues her work with conducting polymers for neural interfaces, moving on towards specific applications. Numerous studies explore the versatility of the polymer materials for introducing bioactive species yet retaining the favorable recording/stimulation properties essential for neural microelectrodes using coatings of poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene (PEDOT). In the FRIAS lab, further work is performed to tailor conducting polymer electrodes for controlled drug release targeting the foreign body response commonly encountered towards neural implants. Specific topics are quantification of drug release, release mechanisms and adhesion promotion for soft polymer coatings on top of metallic electrodes. Furthermore, alternative strategies to electrochemical entrapment of drugs are developed to broaden the range of molecules that can be held and controllably delivered from conducting polymer based films and devices. The combination of optimized bioactive polymer coatings and state of the art polyimide microfabricated implants developed within the lab for Biomedical Microtechnology (IMTEK) is given special attention. The crucial point is to understand if truly soft implants, based on mechanically flexible substrate materials in combination with bioactive soft polymer electrodes is sufficient to allow for long term close contact with the nervous system.