Science Market Update

Growing a Brain at Ohio State

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Growing human organs outside of the body is more reality than science fiction these days. We have seen researchers reproduce a human heart from bicep muscle cells at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and grow stomachs and intestines in the labs of the University of Cincinnati. Now The Ohio State University is taking on the challenge of recreating the human brain.

98c2ec06bf375227f2911db47190c1e1The brain is in many ways more complicated than most human organs, which of course makes it a research goal for many top-notch scientists. As Ohio State professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology Rene Anand puts it in a recent OSU press release, “The brain has been the holy grail because of its enormous complexity compared to any other organ. Other groups are attempting to do this as well.”

Anand decided to meet this lofty task by taking “baby steps,” that is, by first trying to grow a fetal brain. There are several unsolved mysteries about the brain in this early developmental state, such as the nature of the onset of autism. In Anand’s mind, there’s simply no adequate replacement for a physical brain.

“Genomic science infers there are up to 600 genes that give rise to autism, but we are stuck there. Mathematical correlations and statistical methods are insufficient to in themselves identify causation. You need an experimental system – you need a human brain.”

So far, Anand and his team have successfully developed a brain that matches the brain of a 5-week-old. The professor is filing for patents and is even founding a start-up called NeurXstem in order to commercialize his discovery. Soon he’ll be able to make several copies and begin testing on them to discover more about mysteries like autism. 

This work was partly funded by the Marci and Bill Ingram Research Fund for Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Research Fund. For more details on funding for research at Ohio State University, peruse our Ohio State University Funding Report



If you are a researcher or laboratory supplier in or near Ohio, and would like to boost awareness of your products and increase scientific sales, plan to attend Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.'s next Columbus BioResearch Product Faire™. This event is held annually on the Ohio State University campus and will happen next in the summer of 2016. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. has been bringing life science research trade shows to top research campuses for 20 years now. For more information about our Columbus show, please click the link above. If you’d like to attend a show closer to home, please see our 2015 schedule.

Tags: Ohio State University, 2015, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Columbus, OH, OhStu

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