Researchers at Georgia Tech and MIT have developed a way to automate the process of finding and recording information from neurons in the living brain. The researchers have shown that a robotic arm guided by a cell-detecting computer algorithm can identify and record from neurons in the living mouse brain with better accuracy and
speed than a human experimenter. Using this technique, scientists could classify the thousands of different types of cells in the brain, map how they connect to each other, and figure out how diseased cells differ from normal cells.
Reference: S. Kodandaramaiah, G. Franzesi, B. Chow, E. Boyden, C.R. Forest, Automated whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology of neurons in vivo. Nature Methods, Vol. 9(6), p. 585-587, May 2012. (www.nature.com/nmeth/journal/v9/n6/abs/nmeth.1993.html)
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Viviana Gradinaru, an assistant professor of biology at Caltech, discovered her passion for neuroscience as an undergraduate at Caltech, her alma mater. Viviana did her Ph.D. work with Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University where she played an instrumental role in the early development and applications of optogenetics, a research area concerned with the perturbation of neuronal activity via light-controlled ion channels and pumps. More information on her own lab at Caltech can be found at glab.caltech.edu. Viviana is also interested in entrepreneurship for better human health and has co-founded a company, Circuit Therapeutics, based on optogenetics.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
On January 18, 2013, Caltech hosted TEDxCaltech: The Brain, a forward-looking celebration of humankind’s quest to understand the brain, by exploring the past, present and future of neuroscience. Visit TEDxCaltech.com for more details.
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