Lattice light sheet microscopy, a new imaging platform developed at Janelia, lets biologists see 3-D images of subcellular activity in real time.

HeLa Large Betzig Lattice

Over the last decade, powerful new microscopes have dramatically sharpened biologists' focus on the molecules that animate and propel life. Now, a new imaging platform developed by Eric Betzig and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus offers another leap forward for light microscopy. The new technology collects high-resolution images rapidly and minimizes damage to cells, meaning it can image the three-dimensional activity of molecules, cells, and embryos in fine detail over longer periods than was previously possible.

A new tool developed at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus lets scientists permanently mark neurons that are active at a particular time.CaMPARI zebrafish brain confocal horizontal

A new tool developed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus lets scientists shine a light on an animal's brain to permanently mark neurons that are active at a particular time. The tool -- a fluorescent protein called CaMPARI -- converts from green to red when calcium floods a nerve cell after the cell fires. The permanent mark frees scientists from the need to focus a microscope on the right cells at the right time to observe neuronal activity.

New technique enables nanoscale-resolution microscopy of large biological specimens.

Beginning with the invention of the first microscope in the late 1500s, scientists have been trying to peer into preserved cells and tissues with ever-greater magnification. The latest generation of so-called “super-resolution” microscopes can see inside cells with resolution better than 250 nanometers.

A team of researchers from MIT has now taken a novel approach to gaining such high-resolution images: Instead of making their microscopes more powerful, they have discovered a method that enlarges tissue samples by embedding them in a polymer that swells when water is added. This allows specimens to be physically magnified, and then imaged at a much higher resolution.

The axon is a part of the neuron through which nerve impulses are transmitted, and at the end of which is located the synapse, which connects it to another neuron. In the event of a lesion, the axon is the component which must be regenerated in order to restore the connections between the different neurons and re-form the nerve.

‘Cleverly designed' MRI sensors detect dopamine, offering a high-resolution look at what’s happening inside the brain.

by Anne Trafton

For neuroscientists, one of the best ways to study brain activity is with a scanning technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which reveals blood flow in the brain.

However, although fMRI is a powerful tool for identifying brain regions that are active during a particular task, it offers only an indirect view of what’s happening. Measuring a more direct indicator of neural activity, such as concentrations of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that carry messages between neurons) could be much more valuable.

by Michael Patrick Rutter

Marrying high performance optics with microfluidics

Harvard engineers have successfully created a silicone rubber stick-on sheet containing dozens of miniature, powerful lenses, bring them one step closer to putting the capacity of a large laboratory into a micro-sized package.

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