Brain Organoids as Avatars to understand Human brain Development and Disease
Harvard Stem Cell Institute [HSCI] (USA)
01 Feb 2023 16:00
Much remains unknown regarding the mechanisms governing mammalian brain development. Focusing on the cerebral cortex, I will present data on the mechanistic principles that control the developmental generation of cellular diversity in the embryo and consider to what extent processes of cortical development can be replicated outside the embryo, within brain organoids. I will then consider how genetic and environmental factors affect the human developing brain to ultimately cause disease. Emerging evidence indicates that similar disease risk factors are associated with distinct phenotypic outcomes depending on genomic context; such that different individuals show heterogeneous responses to negative stimuli. I will discuss progress in developing human brain organoids that are capable of reproducible, multi-donor development of the forebrain (we have named such organoids: “Chimeroids”), and their use to investigate inter-individual variation in cellular responses to neurotoxic triggers associated with neurodevelopmental disease.