As we described in an earlier post, accessing the human brain to facilitate research into cellular and higher neurological functions is not just incredibly difficult – it is a non-starter. Even following what would be a terminal procedure for any subject, no method had been developed that would permit access to fully intact brain tissues upon expiration and overcome the barriers to studying molecular and cellular functions in situ, due to the immediate onset of decomposition. Until now. With funding from NIH’s BRAIN Initiative, researchers have developed a technological approach called “BrainEX”—underscoring this novel ex vivo capability—where an artificial stand-in blood supply composed of protective, stabilizing, and contrast agents is introduced into primary arteries of the brain at normal body temperatures. The primary goal of this work was not aimed at restoring brain function on the neurological level in the form of awareness or cognition, but to attenuate processes that lead to degradation of cells and tissues upon death; and the outcome was striking. Testing BrainEx in isolated pig brains alongside control solutions, the treatment lessened the frequency of cell death, cellular and larger anatomical structures were preserved, circulatory and inflammatory responses were functional, and even cerebral metabolism and spontaneous neural activity at synapses were observed. In no way do these results suggest even the slightest possibility of a reanimated “Frankenbrain”—as has been postulated by much of the popular press—but it does open a gateway to a previously inaccessible research frontier, and the possibility of directly studying the systems biology and pharmacological underpinnings of the human brain in healthy and diseased forms. While gaining this understanding might not at first seem the most exciting of outcomes, it will be essential for critics and supporters alike to keep an open mind: to best understand the brain and central nervous system, we need to realize the cellular physiologies upon which they are built.