Harvard Scientists Create Novel Multiregional Brain-on-a-Chip

Harvard University researchers have developed a multiregional brain-on-a-chip that models the connectivity between three distinct regions of the brain. The in vitro model was used to extensively characterize the differences between neurons from different regions of the brain and to mimic the system’s connectivity. The Harvard work was reported online on December 28, 2017 in The Journal of Neurophysiology. The article is titled “Neurons Derived from Different Brain Regions Are Inherently Different in Vitro: A Novel Multiregional Brain-On-A-Chip. “The brain is so much more than individual neurons,” said Ben Maoz, Ph.D., co-first author of the paper and postdoctoral fellow in the Disease Biophysics Group in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “It’s about the different types of cells and the connectivity between different regions of the brain. When modeling the brain, you need to be able to recapitulate that connectivity because there are many different diseases that attack those connections. “Roughly twenty-six percent of the U.S. healthcare budget is spent on neurological and psychiatric disorders,” said Kit Parker (photo), Ph.D., the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics Building at SEAS and Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. “Tools to support the development of therapeutics to alleviate the suffering of these patients is not only the human thing to do, it is the best means of reducing this cost." The Harvard work was reported online on December 28, 2017 in The Journal of Neurophysiology. The article is titled “Neurons Derived from Different Brain Regions Are Inherently Different in Vitro: A Novel Multiregional Brain-On-A-Chip.
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