Expansion microscopy brings the brain in 3-D into focus

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While most efforts to understand the brain focus on new technologies to magnify small anatomical features, engineers at the MIT-based Center for Brains, Minds and Machines have found a way to make brains physically bigger. The technique, which the researchers call expansion microscopy, uses an expandable polymer and water to swell brain tissue to about four and a half times its usual size, so that nanoscale structures once blurry appear sharp with an ordinary confocal microscope. Expansion...

Paraplegic will walk again wearing exoskeleton at the World Cup

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Built with funding for basic research from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Miguel Nicolelis and the Walk Again Project have built an exoskeleton that will allow paraplegics to walk again. The exoskeleton uses computer algorithms to interpret the user's brain activity, which powers the exoskeleton forward.

A thought requires roughly a million different brain neurons

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Theoretical biophysicist William Bialek discusses how all of the parts in our brain work together to produce all of the simple and complex thoughts that humans have.

Observing multiple neurons simultaneously

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Theoretical biophysicist William Bialek discusses the BRAIN Initiative and how his team plans to study neuron activity.

How does our brain use coding to interpret the world?

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Theoretical biophysicist William Bialek discusses how our brain interprets information in a continuous way.

Genetic engineering and the production of molecules

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Theoretical biophysicist William Bialek discusses genetic engineering and how the placement of instructions for a gene alters an organism.

Optogenetics relies on biodiversity

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How two unlikely microbes (that don’t even have brains) led to the development of one of today’s most promising brain research techniques—which is being used to study many diseases including schizophrenia and Parkinson’s.

Walt Wilczynski discusses research on the responses by non-mammals to signals during mating competitions

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Walter Wilczynski of Georgia State University is researching how non-mammals signal one another in mating competitions, and how these signals influence the behavior of individual males and females. According to Wilczynski's research, an individual's behavioral responses to such signals and whether it loses or wins a mating competition may modify its brain in ways that may influence its future behavior.

Hans Hofmann explains how environment and genetics influence the brains and behavior of cichlid fish

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Hans Hofmann of the University of Texas, Austin, is researching the influences of environment and genetics on the brains and behavior of cichlid fish. Cichlids provide excellent model organisms for such studies because thousands of species of cichlids have evolved; many of these species are genetically similar but behaviorally and socially different from one another. Hofmann is using the diversity of cichlid species to help identify which genes regulate various behaviors and evaluate how...

Melina Hale explains how her research of zebrafish is helping to advance brain research

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Melina Hale of the University of Chicago is studying neuronal circuits in zebrafish that generate startle responses. Because little is known about how circuits operate in any organism and because startle responses are controlled by relatively simple circuits, an improved understanding of the circuitry of the zebrafish's startle responses is expected to help lay the groundwork for research on more complicated circuits.