Monday, August 11, 2014
Scientists create artificial brain out of spongy goo | Science/AAAS | News: The rings are engineered to mimic the structure and function of the six layers of human cortical brain tissue. Scientists coaxed neurons (right) to grow around stiff, porous matrices made of silk proteins immersed in collagen gel. Then, they colored the layers with food dye and pieced them together like a jigsaw puzzle. By tweaking the size and orientation of matrix pores, researchers attempted to emulate variations of cellular structure and function in a real cortex. Unlike flat neuron cultures grown in petri dishes, the structure provides cells with something to cling to as they branch out and make connections, forming complex, 3D networks that more closely mimic real neural circuits, the authors say.