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How to grow a human brain

Please note this event takes place on the first floor and has no step-free access.
Past event - 2024
13 May Doors open at 6pm. Event 6:30pm - 9:00pm.
George Inn, 75-77 Borough High Street, Southwark,
London SE1 1NH
Sold Out!
For centuries, we've relied on animals to understand human diseases. But guess what? The game is changing! Join us for an interactive event where you'll hear from researchers who are growing human cells in the lab, including some donated by patients carrying the diseases they study. You can also try your skill at building your own model of a human brain (a brain organoid!). Image by Dr. Laura Pellegrini.

Building & Brewing Brains

Dr. Laura Pellegrini (Group Leader at the Center for Developmental Neurobiology (KCL))
How do we study the human brain? We have limited access to human brains, especially during development. Stem cells have the potential to generate different types of tissues including brain. When we put stem cells in a supportive environment with the right cues, they can specialise into different cell types, creating a mini version of an organ: that’s what we call an organoid! Organoids have similar structure and function to the organs they mimic. We can even make region-specific organoids that produce different parts of our brain, including the region that produces cerebrospinal fluid.
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Mouse vs man, how do we study the human brain?

Errin Roy (PhD Student at the Center for Neurodevelopmental Disorders (KCL))
Organoids, they’re a bit sci-fi sounding, but these little balls of human cells have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of development. It’s obvious that humans and mice, fish or flies are very different. Yet, a lot of what we know comes from these animal models. So how can we bridge the gap between animal models and understanding complex human organs like the brain? I’ll tell you about the work I do with organoids, and how I harness their potential using xenotransplantation to understand human interneurons - a special type of cell that’s a key player in advanced human cognition.
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