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BBSRC Science Snapshots

BBSRC Science Snapshots
Highlights from: 20 years of bioscience

New BBSRC-funded research is creating a cellular model of the human brain, known as the iBrain

Image: Dr Julian George, University of Oxford
Image: Dr Julian George, University of Oxford

Many current methods of brain research are restricted in their capabilities, but the iBrain will pave the way for new explorations of human brain activity at a cellular level and, in the future, set us on course to unravel the real mysteries of the brain, such as where our personalities and identities lie and how we might one day be able to restore these precious traits when they are lost to disease and trauma.

The scientists developing this model hope that the iBrain will revolutionise basic research into human brain function, as well as having a huge impact on neurodegenerative disease, which causes immense suffering worldwide.

The image above shows a close up of a cortical neuron culture from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – the team hope that their model will help them to reveal how neurons and their support cells, known as astrocytes, operate together, something that is poorly understood currently.

Research from a BBSRC-funded team from the Universities of Oxford (Prof. Zhanfeng Cui) and Cambridge (Prof. Ole Paulsen) and Aston University (Prof. Michael Coleman and Drs Rhein Parri and Hill).

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