Building brains with bioengineering

A few years ago, Jürgen Knoblich and his team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA) developed a method for cultivating three-dimensional brain-like structures, known as cerebral organoids, in a dish. Now, scientists from IMBA and the University of Cambridge have teamed up to present a new method that combines the organoid method with bioengineering.

The IMBA’s initial lab-grown organ models were found to mimic early human brain development in a surprisingly precise way, allowing for targeted analysis of human neuropsychiatric disorders that was otherwise not possible. Using this cutting-edge methodology, research teams around the world have already revealed new secrets of human brain formation and its defects that can lead to microcephaly, epilepsy or autism.

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