Researchers Growing a Brain in a Petri Dish

The image to the left is actually a Petri dish that contains an artificial brain made out of 60 rat neurons, the brain has a 12 second working memory, just enough for it to say … wtf is this?… and then it’s over.

The researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are the people responsible for growing these artificial brains, they use a silicon disk and add a layer of proteins on it then the add some cultured embryonic rat hippocampus cells on the silicon disk. The researchers than wait a couple of seconds and the cells grow together into a ring shaped neural network that can transmit and receive information from other cells.

The researchers were able to stimulate the neurons with an electrical pulse, the pulse then traveled traveled around the dish for up to 12 seconds, what that means to us is, the neurons were actually storing and transmitting the signal in sequence, forming a sort of short-term memory:

 

“Persistent activity in the brain is involved in working memory and motor planning. The ability of the brain to hold information ‘online’ long after an initiating stimulus is a hallmark of brain areas such as the prefrontal cortex.”

And just like that, were getting closer to figuring out how our brains work.