the incredible organoids: exploring brain tissue cultures through light, projection, glass and 3D printed materials

Scientists are now able to grow different types of three-dimensional brain tissues called cerebral organoids using innovative culturing processes in supportive micro environments.

These extraordinary three dimensional tissues, (sometimes called ‘mini brains’) offer pioneering new insights and approaches to studying human brain development and neurological disease mechanisms in vitro.

Extending the collaboration-  and observations – of her own cells being grown in Dr Wray’s lab at UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Charlie now plans to investigate how 3d scanning and printing technologies might be used to to dramatically visualise organoid structures at epic proportions – as a powerful way to scrutinise and inform our understandings and perceptions of their spatial configurations and the connections within them.

Working with Selina’s lab team, tissue imaging specialists,  Dr Madeline Lancaster ‘s team at Cambridge MRC,  experts from 3D printing and electronics and  members of the Brains in a Dish team, Charlie’s ‘incredible organoid’ team will work together to develop a series of large scale exploded organoid  structures –  using a variety of lab tools, scaffolds, sculptural materials , modular scientific glass/ metal  tubing ,lab stands. clamps, electronics and other forms of  lighting.

Scanning and visualising a selection of organoids grown to model functions of healthy and diseased tissues in this way will offer  entirely new embodied perspectives on these extraordinary brain tissue cultures  which  offer  valuable new insights into  disease processes at their earliest stages – and new hope for finding ways to intervene.

These powerful collaborative methodology will also forge valuable new connections between lab , imaging staff and wider fields of engineering – sharing the physical, technical and conceptual problem solving involved in making these tissue ‘models ‘ together  to investigate, physically construct and tangibly observe how these potent human tissues grow and function.

These hands on collaborative making activities will significantly inform the development of  dramatic large scale sculptures and /  immersive environments –  through which public audiences can tangibly explore what organoids look like-  close up and personal.

Framing important questions about the personal, metaphysical and ethical dimensions of these human tissue developments – and their potential for commercial and clinical exploitation- this work aim to offer public audiences valuable and timely opportunities to, interact with, debate and gain significant insights into this important new area of biotechnology and research.