Phil Ball's book 'How to Grow a Human' published by HarperCollins launches 22nd May come and hear him talk at the Royal Institution, London on 31st May 2019

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Phil Ball examining his neuronal cultures in the Wray Lab at UCL's Institute of Neurology photo : Charlie Murphy


Phil Ball's skin cells (epithelial and fibroblasts) growing from his skin sample photo

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Researcher Christopher Lovejoy dividing the Brains in a Dish cell cultures at the lab bench photo : Charlie Murphy


Phil Ball's Prospect Magazine article

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Dr Selina Wray inspecting the Brians in a Dish neuronal cultures in the lab's incubator photo : Charlie Murphy


Phil's cells during conversion of his skin cells into neurons. This shows a colony that has been transformed to a stem cell-like state photo: Christopher Lovejoy


Phil Ball's article for The Guardian

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Lab timeline of cell development processes photo : Charlie Murphy


iPSC colonies stained with fluorescent antibody markers. The different colours indicate where genes characteristic of stem cells are activated. Photo : Selina Wray and Christopher Lovejoy, UCL/ Created Out of Mind


One of the team's organoids (brain tissue cultures) in development Photo : Selina Wray and Christopher Lovejoy, UCL/ Created Out of Mind


Phil Ball’s 2D neuronal cultures under fluorescent microscope photo : Christopher Lovejoy/Created Out of Mind / UCL


Phil Ball’s neurons extending their axons within a 2D culture dish Stained and seen through a fluorescent microscope. Photo : Christopher Lovejoy / Created Out of Mind / Wellcome

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A slice of Philip Ball’s 'cerebral organoid' stained to reveal different types of cell. Layers of neurons are here shown in red. Image: Christopher Lovejoy, Dr Selina Wray / Created Out of Mind


Writer and journalist Philip Ball has been writing a series of blogs pieces  in response to his experiences of taking part in  ‘Brains in a Dish’ project.

He has also published several articles in national and international publications which reflect on how his skin cells are grown into neuronal cultures and considers a number of important moral, ethical and philosophical questions about our relationships between the body, brain and identity:

‘Why two brains are better than one’, The Observer, 31st March 2018 Philip Ball discusses his participation in our ‘Brains in a dish’ project

‘Why I’m growing a second brain’, Prospect Magazine, 16th March 2018 Writer and Created Out of Mind collaborator reflects on the 2nd stage of his growing neurons or ‘mini-brain’ as part of our Brains in a dish project.

‘Why Philosophers Are Obsessed With Brains in Jars’ The Atlantic, July 25, 2017 Preserved brains have had a mysterious appeal for decades…

Phil has contributed to Created Out of Mind’s free online course where you can hear him talk in more detail about our Brains in a Dish project  ‘ Dementia and the Arts: Sharing Practice, Developing Understanding and Enhancing Lives’  

Phil’s new book ‘How to grow a human’ , which is inspired by this project will published by HarperCollins launches   22nd May. Come and hear him  talk about it at the Royal Institute, London on 31st May