The annual top-ten list of breakthrough technologies was recently curated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brain organoids were listed, and lauded among this list, for being, “…a new method for growing human brain cells, which could unlock the mysteries of dementia, mental illness, and other neurological disorders” as the MIT Technology Review noted.
Two researchers stand at the forefront of these developments; Madeline Lancaster and Jürgen Knoblich, who both conduct their cutting-edge research at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) in Vienna, Austria.
Both have engaged in thorough research on cerebral organoids since these have proved useful, in that their growth mirrors aspects of human brain development. In effect, cerebral organoids enable to “grow” discrete three-dimensional structures of the brain. Scientists as a result, are able to observe the growth process, and highlight potential obstacles, their potential causes, mechanisms, and the drug treatments, which could prevent these from occurring in the future.
In sum, researchers at Austria's IMBA are opening a new window into how neurons function, and grow. This breakthrough technology will foster our collective understanding of basic brain activities, as they relate to autism, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses.