RogerRoast writes: Astrocytes are the most ubiquitous cells in the brain. They perform critical support function to the neurons. These cells are also implicated in several human brain disorders. The U of Wisconsin researchers developed a method to create these cells from stem cells. The paper was published in Nature Biotechnology (May 22, 2011 online issue) and reported in ScienceDebate.com. According to the lead author Dr Zhang, “not a lot of attention has been paid to these cells because human astrocytes have been hard to get, but we can make billions or trillions of them from a single stem cell." The technology developed by the Wisconsin group lays a foundation to make all the different species of astrocytes. It may be possible to genetically engineer them to mimic disease so that previously inaccessible neurological conditions can be studied in the lab.