Using 3D brain organoids to study human brain development and disease

December, 19th
Versione stampabile

Venue: Edificio Povo 1, via Sommarive nr. 5, Povo (Tn) - Room A211
Time: 11.30 a.m.


  • Veronica Krenn - Postdoctoral fellow, Laboratory of Juergen Knoblich, IMBA-Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna, Austria¬†

The human brain is unique in size and complexity, but also the source of some of the most devastating human diseases. While many of the disorders have been successfully studied in model organisms, recent experiments have emphasized unique features that cannot easily be modeled in animals. Stem cell-derived human brain organoids are novel in vitro 3D culture systems that have the potential to recapitulate many aspects of human brain development. Human brain organoids can generate several brain regions including a well-organized cerebral cortex and display stem cell properties and progenitor zone organization that show characteristics specific to humans. Furthermore, brain organoid models are increasingly being used to model diseases affecting the central nervous system. For example, we have used patient specific iPS cells to model microcephaly, a human neurodevelopmental disorder that has been difficult to recapitulate in mice. This approach revealed premature neuronal differentiation with loss of the microcephaly protein CDK5Rap2, a defect that could explain the disease phenotype. More recently, human brain organoids have been used to investigate many other neurological disorders and brain cancer. These studies highlight how brain organoids may advance our understanding of brain disorders.