Stem cells and nanoscale 3D printing in medical research


The Meso-Brain project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 FETOPEN programme to develop dynamic, non-invasive therapies for the treatment of neurological conditions.

More people are living longer and healthier lives than ever before, yet the number of people suffering from neurological conditions is also increasing as societies age. Successfully treating such conditions represents one of the 21st century’s greatest healthcare challenges, both in terms of scientific challenge and financial cost. 

Stem cell- and nanoscale research represent some of the most promising sources of medical advancements of today, but research progress is hampered by high costs and slow progress. The Meso-Brain project is designed to dramatically increase the pace of neuroscience research and pharmaceutical drug discovery.

New Treatments

The brain consists of a network of neurons, all interacting with each other at remarkable speeds. Producing better treatment options a new generation of accurate modelling and testing tools, yet this is no simple task. The Meso-Brain Consortium aims to generate customisable and definable 3D networks of stem-cell-derived neurons for medical research to make these tools a reality. 

The next generation of medical treatments will, with the help of research at Meso-Brain, enable networks of IPSC (Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) to be derived from individual patients. These can then be re-implanted to alleviate life-altering conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or even the consequences of physical trauma. 

Why Meso-Brain?

The EU-funded Meso-Brain project combines cutting-edge research from the fields of human stem cell biology, nanoscale three-dimensional (3D) printing, computational network modelling and light sheet microscopy to unlock an array of novel treatment options for the long-term alleviation of brain dysfunction.

Cutting-edge Research Meets Tech

The next generation of in vitro 3D neuronal networks will replace the current generation of 2D networks, with genetic encoding and new tools such as fluorescence microscopy making it possible to see neurons interact with other in real-time. Imaging such fast activity requires advanced instrumentation with wide FoV (Fields of View) and high framerates. 

Meso-Brain aims to be at the forefront of modelling human neuronal networks, using 3D nanoscale printing to act as scaffolding for the neurons. We believe this research promises to unlock meaningful and practicable insights into the functioning of the brain, especially when it comes to accurately modelling conditions. 

The treatments developed at Meso-Brain will, it is hoped, allow researchers to accurately and dynamically model brain networks more realistically than ever before. This includes, for example, neurons in different states of dysfunction as well as their reaction to new medicines and other treatments. 

Find Out More

For more information, visit 

  • Aston University, Birmingham, UK 
  • LZH Laser Zentrum Hannover E.V. (LZH), Germany 
  • Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Barcelona, Spain 
  • ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Catalonia, Spain 
  • Axol Bioscience Ltd (AXOL) 
  • DLM Consultancy Services Ltd, Edinburgh, Scotland 

European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme: 
Future and Emerging Technologies grant agreement No. 713140.