The MESO-BRAIN consortium has received a prestigious award of €3.3m 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 electro-physiologically 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.
Prof Edik Rafailov, Head of the MESO-BRAIN project at Aston University, said: “What we’re proposing to achieve with this project has, until recently, been the stuff of science fiction. Being able to extract and replicate neural networks from the brain through 3D nanoprinting promises to change this. The MESO-BRAIN project has the potential to revolutionise the way we are able to understand the onset and development of disease and discover treatments for those with dementia or brain injuries. We cannot wait to get started!”
The MESO-BRAIN project will launch in September 2016 and research will be conducted over three years.
Consortium partners include: Aston University, Axol Bioscience Ltd, the Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany), the Neurophysics Group (Physics Department) at University of Barcelona (Spain), the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Spain) and KITE Innovation (UK), which helps to bridge the gap between the academic and business sectors.