18 May '17, 8pm

Researchers Grow Brain Cells on a Chip

Every human thought starts with a signal traveling from one neuron to another in the brain. Yet we know relatively little about how these connections form. In an effort to watch that process unfold, Australian researchers engineered a nanowire scaffold on a semiconductor chip that enables brain cells to grow and form circuits. The scientists described their device recently in the journal Nano Letters . The neural scaffold falls far short of any brain-on-a-chip that futurists might imagine. But it does provide a way for scientists to guide the growth of neurons and study their connectivity, says Vini Gautam , a biomaterials engineer at Australian National University who led the study. That has been a challenge for scientists trying to recreate neural circuitry in the lab. Neurons in the brain connect and communicate in a highly ordered way. But in the lab, the cells tend to...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/...

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