The MESO-BRAIN consortium has received a prestigious award of €3.3million in funding from the European Commission as part of its Future and Emerging Technology (FET) scheme. The project aims to develop three-dimensional (3D) human neural networks with specific biological architecture, and the inherent ability to interrogate the network’s brain-like activity both electrophysiologically and optically. It is expected that the MESO-BRAIN will facilitate a better understanding of human disease progression, neuronal growth and enable the development of large-scale human cell-based assays to test the modulatory effects of pharmacological and toxicological compounds on neural network activity. The use of more physiologically relevant human models will increase drug screening efficiency and reduce the need for animal testing. The MESO-BRAIN project’s cornerstone will use human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that have been differentiated into neurons upon a defined and reproducible 3D scaffold to support the development of human neural networks that emulate brain activity. The structure will be based on a brain cortical module and will be unique in that it will be designed and produced using nanoscale 3D-laser-printed structures incorporating nano-electrodes to enable downstream electrophysiological analysis of neural network function. Optical analysis will be conducted using cutting-edge light sheet-based, fast volumetric imaging technology to enable cellular resolution throughout the 3D network. The MESO-BRAIN project will allow for a comprehensive and detailed investigation of neural network development in health and disease. The MESO-BRAIN project will launch in September 2016 and research will be conducted over three years. The MESO-BRAIN initiative targets a transformative progress in photonics, neuroscience and medicine. The project aims to develop human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural networks upon a defined and reproducible 3D scaffold to emulate brain activity and improve our understanding and treatment of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia and trauma. This research, led by Aston University, is a collaboration between Axol Bioscience Ltd. (UK), Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany), University of Barcelona (Spain), Institute of Photonic Sciences (Spain) and KITE Innovation (UK). The project is funded by the European Commission through its Future and Emerging Technology (Open) programme.
Neurological disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease), Lasers, ultra-short lasers and laser physics, Nanophysics: nanoelectronics, nanophotonics, nanomagnetism, nanoelectromechanics
Germany, Spain, United Kingdom