The MESO-BRAIN project, awarded with € 3.3 million in funding from the European Commission as part of its Future and Emerging Technology scheme, aims at 3D printing human neural networks mimicking the brain’s structure and function.
These 3D networks are to feature specific biological architecture and the ability to interrogate the network’s brain-like activity both electrohpysilogically and optically. The research team will us human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), that have been differentiated into neurones. The scaffolds for these cells are produced using a 3D laser printer capable of creating objects on a nanoscale. Nano-electrodes will be incorporated into the structure for downstream analysis of the network’s function.
The MESO-BRAIN project, scheduled to launch in September 2016, intends to help better understand the progression of human disease and neuronal growth. Additionally, it aims at the development of large-scale human cell-based assays to test the effects of pharmacological and toxicological compound on the neural network activity of the brain.
Edik Rafailov, Head of the MESO-BRAIN project said and professor at Aston University explained: “What we’re proposing to achieve with this project has, until recently, been the stuff of science fiction. Being able to extract and replicate neural networks from the brain through 3D nanoprinting promises to change this. The MESO-BRAIN project has the potential to revolutionise the way we are able to understand the onset and development of disease and discover treatments for those with dementia or brain injuries. We cannot wait to get started!”
The MESO-BRAIN consortium consists of experts in the fields of photonics, physics, 3D nanoprinting, electrophysiology, molecular biology, stem cells, imagining and commercialisation from Aston University, the Cell & Tissue Biomedical Research Group, Axol Bioscience Ltd., Laser Zentrum Hannover, University of Barcelona, the Insitute of Photonic Science and KITE Innovation.