Electronic chemical cells were proposed by McCaskill as a new approach to artificial cells which make use of electronics to complement purely chemical functionality in order to achieve the difficult integration and control of chemical reactions required for the functionality of a cell. An EU project ECCell 2008-2012 coordinated by McCaskill was conducted with international partners. This involved the custom chemical microprocessor technology developed in BioMIP and from 2005-2008 in its spinoff company Protostream. The technology involved the integration of an FPGA chip and a microfluidic device equipped with a network of channels (structured in PDMS on silicon) and gold microelectrodes. 

The project employed as an example an integrative chemistry involving a novel type of molecule: combining amphiphilic DNA (DNA block copolymers developed by project partner Andreas Herrmann) with a redox active S-S link (thio-DNA developed by partner Günter von Kiedrowski) , which could in principle integrate the three properties of genetic information, amphiphilic containment and chemical catalysis.

Novel concepts for integrated electronic spatial control, using electric fields to concentrate and/or filter molecules, were developed and tested using the chemical microprocessor technology. In addition the concept of electronic genomes - employing local hereditary information in digital electronics which can be used to control local variants of cellular function.

See BioMIP Web Pages for my research group 2004-2017 :  John McCaskill 2019