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PET of a Mini brain and more art by Charlotte Dunn

PET of a Mini brain, 2021
9 x 9 cm (h x w)
GBP 90
Resin
Ink

For Alexander Fleming, leaving a petri dish out in the air let to his now famous discovery of antibiotics. For Madeline Lancaster, leaving stem cells in a shaker led to the discovery of a new model for neuroscience: brain organoids. These blobs of tissue, grown from human stem cells, resemble some of the essential parts of the human brain. Although they are as small as apple seeds, often known as Mini brains, they hold the key to understanding one of life’s great mysteries: the human brain.

Scientists have successfully grown mini brains that, for the first time, produce brain waves resembling those seen in embryos and preterm infants. They hope the mini brains will enable them to study early brain development as well as many other implications.

Of course, there are ethical implications of rebuilding the brain. Can these brains-in-a-dish achieve sentience and somehow sensing they’re being experimented on? By showing a mini-PET scan of a brain, a tool that is used to show the electrical activity within the brain, I hope the reflect the thinking and currents of the brain, reflecting on the ethical implications of creating a thinking brain in a petri dish.

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