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  • Interview with Dr. Shigeki Watanabe on Research in Synaptic Membrane Dynamics

    Dr. Shigeki Watanabe, principle investigator of the department of Cell Biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, held a workshop in Zürich, Switzerland on methods to study synaptic dynamics with millisecond precision. In collaboration with Dr. Andres Käch from the University of Zurich all workshop attendees enjoyed presentations and hands-on sessions on the EM ICE by Leica Microsystems with Light and Electrical Stimulation, revealing the latest developments in brain research. During this workshop Dr. Bernd Sägmüller from Leica Microsystems had the chance for an interview with Dr. Watanabe.
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  • Clearing of Fixed Tissue: A Review from a Microscopist’s Perspective

    Chemical clearing of fixed tissues is becoming a key instrument for the three-dimensional reconstruction of macroscopic tissue portions, including entire organs. Indeed, the growing interest in this field has both triggered and been stimulated by recent advances in high-throughput microscopy and data analysis methods, which allowed imaging and management of large samples.
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  • Label-free in vivo Imaging of Myelinated Axons in Health and Disease with Spectral Confocal Reflectance Microscopy

    We report a new technique for high-resolution in vivo imaging of myelinated axons in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve that requires no fluorescent labeling. This method, based on spectral confocal reflectance microscopy (SCoRe), uses a conventional laser scanning confocal system to generate images by merging the simultaneously reflected signals from multiple lasers of different wavelengths.
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  • Webinar: Advances in Neuroscience: New Methods for Correlating Structure and Function

    During this webcast, we will present recent advances in targeted cell labelling, tissue clearing, and fluorescence imaging methods for the study of brain function. These exciting methods are helping to accelerate the understanding of how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact both structurally and functionally.
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  • Video Talk by Daniel Choquet: Our brain, this black box

    What happens in your brain when you learn something? When you store a memory? In this informative and fascinating talk, Daniel Choquet shares some of the most recent findings regarding those brain functions. Light makes it possible to see what is inside the powerful black box that is the brain, and opens new paths for fighting brain dysfunctions.
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  • Video Talk by Karl Deisseroth: Optogenetics

    Optogenetics is a combination of genetics and optics to achieve a gain or loss of function of biochemical events such as action potentials in a particular neuron or tissue. Opsin genes encode proteins that receive light and give rise to ion flow. This talk gives an introduction to optogenetics followed by examples of how optogenetics is being used to study the brain.
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  • Video: The Ascent – a Brief History of the Brain

    This video features a few of the major scientists and findings that have contributed to modern neuroscience: The history of our knowledge of the brain, how technical and conceptual advances led to new insights and the human side of neuroscience through quotations from key individuals on the nature of the brain and consciousness.
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  • Webinar: Advances in Neurotechniques – Methods that Reveal the Structure and Function of the Brain

    In this webinar Karl Deisseroth and Viviana Gradinaru will explain the most recent neurotechniques and how these are being used to advance our knowledge of the brain.
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  • Super-Resolution Microscopy Helped to Create the First 3D Model of a Synapse

    A research team from Göttingen, led by Prof. Silvio O. Rizzoli, managed to determine the copy numbers and positions of all important building blocks of a synapse for the first time. This allowed them to reconstruct the first scientifically accurate 3D model of a synapse.
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  • Video Interview with Stephan Sigrist

    Stephan Sigrist is professor for biology at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. His research focus are synapses, synaptic information transfer and processing between neurons in the developing drosophila larva. His aim is to understand how synapses actually get diversified in our brains.
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  • Optogenetic Toolkit Goes Multicolor

    Optogenetics is a technique that allows scientists to control neurons’ electrical activity with light by engineering them to express light-sensitive proteins. Within the past decade, it has become a very powerful tool for discovering the functions of different types of cells in the brain.
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  • Cellular Organization of Cortical Barrel Columns is Whisker-specific

    The cellular organization of the cortex is of fundamental importance for elucidating the structural principles that underlie its functions. It has been suggested that reconstructing the structure and synaptic wiring of the elementary functional building block of mammalian cortices, the cortical column, might suffice to reverse engineer and simulate the functions of entire cortices.
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  • Webinar: Confocal and Two-Photon Microscopy Methods for Imaging the Brain

    Brain research using confocal and multiphoton microscopy. A deeper understanding of brain function requires visualization of the complex architecture of neurons and their connections. In this special webinar, two researchers working at the cutting-edge of brain imaging will discuss their applications of the latest confocal and two-photon microscopy techniques. From fluorescent labeling and imaging of neural circuits using the Brainbow system to in vivo imaging of brain structure, function, and blood flow, this webinar will give researchers a deeper appreciation of the potential for new microscopy methods to unlock the secrets of the cellular world. Unique insights into sample handling and processing of multicolor images will also be presented, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions.
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  • Structural and Molecular Interrogation of Intact Biological Systems

    To understand structure and function of brains or other complex biological systems, the method of choice is microscopy. In particular, confocal microscopy is employed to reveal three-dimensional connectivity and functional interactions. To come to a real insight into brain’s way of working, one must look deep into the tissue – which usually is non-transparent. A couple of clearing methods have been developed in the past, but they usually come along with distortions of the structures, incompatibilities with fluorescence stainings or are just prohibitively toxic to the lab technician.
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  • Optogenetics

    Optogenetics is a technique that allows light-controlled responses of transfected cells. The cells are genetically modified by introduction of genes that code for light-induced channels or ion pumps. The term optogenetics denotes the light control feature introduced by genetic engineering.
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  • Sharp Live Images from the Mouse Brain

    To explore the most intricate structures of the brain in order to decipher how it functions – Stefan Hell’s team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen has made a significant step closer to this goal. Using the STED microscopy developed by Hell, the scientists have, for the first time, managed to record detailed live images inside the brain of a living mouse.
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  • Two-color STED Microscopy of Living Synapses using a Single Laser-beam Pair

    The advent of superresolution microscopy has opened up new research opportunities into dynamic processes at the nanoscale inside living biological specimens. This is particularly true for synapses, which are very small, highly dynamic, and embedded in brain tissue. Stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, a recently developed laser-scanning technique, has been shown to be well suited for imaging living synapses in brain slices using yellow fluorescent protein as a single label. However, it would be highly desirable to be able to image presynaptic boutons and postsynaptic spines, which together form synapses, using two different fluorophores.
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  • STED Nanoscopy of Actin Dynamics in Synapses deep inside Living Brain Slices

    It is difficult to investigate the mechanisms that mediate long-term changes in synapse function because synapses are small and deeply embedded inside brain tissue. Although recent fluorescence nanoscopy techniques afford improved resolution, they have so far been restricted to dissociated cells or tissue surfaces. However, to study synapses under realistic conditions, one must image several cell layers deep inside more-intact, three-dimensional preparations that exhibit strong light scattering, such as brain slices or brains in vivo.
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