3D culture in naturally derived hydrogels such as Matrigel or collagen matrices has shown to drive cellular self-organization and complex morphogenetic processes to result in sophisticated in vitro models. However, current methods mostly rely on natural derived materials that fail to enable fine and controlled manipulation of matrix parameters and culture conditions.
The brain-in-a-jar is one of science fiction’s creepier ideas. It is a safe prediction that 2016 will not see such literally disembodied people become reality. What it will see, though, is the blossoming of a technology that lets scientists grow things resembling brains—and also livers, kidneys, intestines and many other body parts—in glass vessels in laboratories.