Robot with a Biological Brain: new research provides insights into how the brain works – project update
Release Date 11 September 2009
A year on from the commencement of a project designed to lead to a better understanding of brain diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, stroke and brain injury, the University of Reading research team are now considering the next steps.
The first phase of the project is using cultured rat neurons to create a biological brain. Observing how this neuron culture responds to stimulation through the movements of a robot is the first step to examining how memories manifest themselves in the brain, and how a brain stores specific pieces of data.
The researchers are now considering how to improve the model to better reflect models of human disease. Future stages of the project could use commercially-grown human neurons to compare the responses to electrical stimulation of the biological brain.
By understanding the reaction of rat neurons, and subsequently the human equivalent, to stimulation, the researchers hope to gain insights into potential therapies for brain diseases.
Find out more about the research and watch the film