“Most microscopes can only study cell function in two dimensions,” said Dr. Gaddum Duemani Reddy, an M.D./Ph.D. student at BCM at Houston and Rice University and also first author of the study. “To look at different planes, you have move your preparation (of cells) or the objective lens. That takes time, and we are looking at processes that happen in milliseconds.”
To solve that problem, he said, they developed a “trick” to quickly move a laser beam in three dimensions and then adapted that laser beam to the multi-photon microscope they were using. That allowed them to “see” the neuron’s function in three dimensions, giving them a much better view of its activity.
A multiphoton microscope looks much like a conventional, upright microscope but it has an adaption that allows it to look at tissues in sections. A conventional multiphoton microscope does that very slowly, he said.
“With ours, you can do it very quickly. We are starting to see how a single neuron behaves in our laboratory,” he said. The next step, he said, will be to use to it to look a clusters or colonies of neurons. This will enable them to actually see the neuronal interactions.
“At present, the technology is applied in my lab to study information processing of single neurons in brain slice preparations by 3D multi-site optical recording,” said Dr. Peter Saggau, professor of neuroscience at BCM and the paper’s senior author.
He is collaborating with two other labs on using the technology in other ways. In one, he said, researchers plan to use the technology to monitor nerve activity in the brains of lab animals in order study how populations of neurons communicate during visual stimulation. Another study attempts to use the technology to monitor stimulation of the acoustic nerve optically. Those scientists hope to reinstate hearing in lab animals whose inner ear receptors do not work.
Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State
What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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