New chemical reagent turns biological tissue transparent.

As someone who worked with fluorescence labeling & microscopy using immunohistology, this groundbreaking reagent seems promising. The resulting 3D images provide a deeper understanding of spacial depth and detail as well as better sub-cellular resolution, it seems pretty fantastic. These scientists use mouse brains, which we didn’t, but I wish we had this when I was doing that

So, what’s the benefit? ABOVE: A 3D shot of the hippocampal neurons from the Dentate gyrus to the surface. And a little more exciting to me, since I compared left Dentate gyrus to right. BELOW we have something that can show the whole enchilada all at once in 3D. Amazing, just look at that detail. The Japanese scientists have plans to use this technique on other organs as well in living tissue.

Images and article via. H/T@TheNeuroScience


Time to be a nerd for minute: Immunohistochemistry Edition

These are light microscope pictures that I took of fluorescent-labeled rat brain cross sections that I stained and mounted. 

  • The red in the pictures stained astrocytes, a special type of glia. Glia are the cells in the brain that aren’t neurons. Think of them likes the technical staff at a hospital: they aren’t the doctors, but they keep things running they way that they should.
  • The blue stained nuclei acids, so the little blue dots are cell bodies of the neurons in each section of the brain that we looked at.
  • The green helped to distinguish between glia and neurons by recognizing special proteins found only in the processes of neurons.

I hope you like my pictures, whether you like neuroscience or just weird, trippy things. Brains are cool. Kthxbai

theywontholdusdown asked:

I didn't realise you worked on Zebrafish. I was recently at a placement and we couldnt get any GFP histone tagged ones to breed :( (we were looking at lens development so we were sucking zebrafish embryos into a light sheet microscope).

Yeah, I spent a good portion of my weekends during undergrad sleeping in the aquatics lab so that I could pull the breeding dividers at 8 am. I went to a small undergraduate institution where the professors weren’t expected to publish on a regular basis, so I didn’t get to do anything too intense, except some immunohistochemistry and cryostat-ing on embryos, but I had to go through hoops and ladders just to make that work.

Unfortunately there were some personal things that came up and I never got to finish that research project before graduating. So in all honesty, most of my work with zebrafish was getting them to breed for my supervisor so she could use the embryos in her upper division elective (WHICH I DIDN’T EVEN GET TO TAKE MYSELF BECAUSE SHE WENT ON MATERNITY LEAVE THE SEMESTER IT WAS OFFERED AND I WAS ELIGIBLE TO TAKE IT).

But I still love zebrafish. I think they’re an awesome model organism. For me, it’s always been a lot easier to euthanize a fish than a mammal (say, a rat, for instance, which I’ve had to do in neuroscience coursework). Zebrafish are hardy animals; it’s hard to unintentionally kill them (although, I’ve managed to do it). We don’t have nearly as well developed genetic manipulation tools for them as we do for mammals (ex. knockout mice), but there’s morpholinos and TALENs. I actually wanted to use a morpholino assay, but, once again, I never got that far due to personal obstacles.

The Corals of Your Lungs

Like the beautiful corals that line sea reefs (right), lung epithelial cells (left) line the many branches of airways in your lungs through which air is collected and distributed to incoming red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the rest of the body.

Researchers at CHLA are using immunohistochemical stains like that pictured above to study how best to repair lung tissue damaged early in life.

Left image courtesy of Jooeun Lee and Barbara Driscoll, PhD, Saban Research Institute, CHLA

Right image courtesy of Shutterstock