Standing outside the low, gray industrial building, she watched as horses went in one side and, about 15 minutes later, a worker appeared on the other end, holding a head, neurons and all.
Their work has been so fruitful that it could provide them with a lifetime worth of projects.
But she and her collaborators can’t waste any time.
Other cells, like those in the adult brain and nervous system, have been viewed as more like the Mona Lisa. Spalding, once a postdoc at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and now a professor there, knew there were tantalizing hints that the adult hippocampus—a seahorse-shaped region deep in the brain that is important for memory and learning—could regenerate neurons.
But without knowing exactly when each neuron was created, scientists couldn’t say with any certainty that this was true.
Neuroscience dogma had long dictated that the adult human brain did not create any new neurons.