Building human brains in vitro

The human brain has many structural features that are distinct from lower species commonly used to model brain development and neurological disease.  Over the past few years, techniques have been developed to create human brain-like tissue from embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.  However, these techniques are frequently problematic and results are hard to reproduce. Today, we report revised methods for producing cerebral and basal ganglia organods.  We further provide side-by-side comparions to human brain specimens, and demonstrate that neurons are active and capable of exhibiting network-like functions.  We lastly use the organoid platform to investigate the pathogeneiss of fetal brain damage following Zika virus infection and identify several drugs that appear to be capable of rescuing these effects.  Please check out our paper here.  Press releases related to our study can be found here or here.