Scientists studying the brain have managed to grow neurons on petri dishes for a while, but they don’t connect the way real neurons do because the ones in a dish grow in a fundamentally 2D environment, and regular brains are fundamentally 3D.
Now, researchers at Tufts University in Boston have made a 3D scaffold that allows neurons to connect more realistically. It has grey matter / white matter compartmentalization, which means that the structure is more similar to real brains. It can also last longer, up to two months in labs.
This new tissue can let scientists study brain biology in more detail. They can see what happens to nearby cells when there is trauma. They can also see the effects of administering drugs more easily.