The quest to build a brain in the lab
“I’m a neuroengineer, and one of my goals is building brains.”
Prof Steven Potter was disarmingly understated as he introduced himself.
It’s not that tissue engineering is unusual. Nor even that doing it with neural cells should be an issue.
If heart cells or skin cells can be reprogrammed, why not neurons?
But “building brains” had been my flip way of labelling an intriguing, indeed unnerving, branch of science: the neurophysiology of disembodied brain-cell cultures. It was not a term I was expecting a serious scientist to turn to, as I set out on making “Build Me a Brain” for BBC Radio 4’s Frontiers Programme.