Neuroscience at IMS: A new study in Nature communications demonstrates how to link neurons with biological lab-grown brain cells

April 10, 2024 – In an extraordinary leap for neuroscience research, a new study by Dr Yoshiho Ikeuchi (IIS, U Tokyo) group, Dr. Timothée Levi from the Bioelectronics group at IMS Laboratory (TIPS Team responsible) and Romain Beaubois, PhD at TIPS team, has been published in Nature Communications, a journal renowned for its expansive reach and rigorous standards.

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Researchers have developed a technique to connect lab-grown neural ‘organoids’ (three-dimensional developmental brain-like structures grown from human stem cells) using axonal bundles, similar to the connections between regions in the human brain. It  allows brain networks to be better represented experimentally in the lab, and will improve understanding and studies of network-related brain disorders.

Introduction to the Field

In the ever-evolving field of neuroscience, researchers strive to understand the brain’s complex network of neurons. One area of significant interest involves cerebral organoids, or “mini-brains,” which are simplified versions of the brain produced from stem cells. These organoids help scientists study brain development and disease in a controlled environment. The latest breakthrough in this field explores how connecting these organoids via axon bundles can mimic and enhance the brain’s natural functions, offering a glimpse into the dynamic interactions within our neural circuits.

Spotlight on the researcher

This pioneering study was led by Yoshiho Ikeuchi (IIS, U Tokyo) in collaboration with Dr. Timothée Levi, figure of the bioelectronics group at IMS Laboratory (TIPS team). This recent publication in Nature Communications—a journal renowned for its significant impact factor and contribution to advancing natural sciences—highlights his innovative approach to studying and emulating neural connections, bridging the gap between artificial and biological neurons – With collaboration of UTokyo and Dr. Yoshiho Ikeuchi. Dr. Levi’s work not only advances our understanding of the brain’s architectural motifs but also opens up new possibilities for medical applications. Read Dr. Levi’s study here.

Societal benefits and potential applications

Research on inter-organoid axonal connections has profound implications. By enhancing the complexity and intensity of oscillatory activity between organoids, his findings could lead to better models for studying neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Furthermore, the use of optogenetics to stimulate these connections suggests potential new treatments that could precisely target neurological disorders at the network level, possibly leading to revolutionary therapies that restore or enhance brain function.

An invitation to think and discuss !

How will innovations like Dr. Levi’s influence our approach to neurological disorders in the future? Could this be the key to unlocking the treatment of diseases once thought untreatable? The potential of such research to alter the landscape of medicine is quite immense. But what other areas of human activities could benefit from understanding and manipulating these complex neural connections ? Science isn’t just science, it’s a part of society. One world guided by both nature and culture, human representations.

Reflecting on science in society

As we celebrate these scientific advances, it’s essential to reflect on our perceptions of science and researchers. How does the groundbreaking work of individuals like Dr. Levi align with public expectations of science and its role in society? In an era where scientific information is abundant yet frequently misunderstood or misrepresented, how do we bridge the gap between scientific research and public knowledge? These are crucial questions that encourage a broader dialogue about the integration of science into everyday life.

Despite all, these results are the reward of a hard work bringing results, and a creative way of thinking.


This work in Nature Communications marks a significant milestone in the field of neuroscience, heralding new possibilities for understanding and treating complex neural disorders. As we contemplate the future shaped by such research, we must also engage in ongoing discussions about the role of science in society, ensuring that these advancements lead to beneficial outcomes for all. This is more than just scientific progress—it is a pathway to reimagining the possibilities of human health and well-being.

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