Massively Parallel Brain Imaging

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Science  16 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5951, pp. 390
DOI: 10.1126/science.326_390

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Inventing technology that pushes the frontiers of brain research is the passion of applied physicist and neuroscientist Mark Schnitzer. His lab at Stanford University has cranked out several cutting-edge devices in recent years, including a 1.1-gram fluorescence microscope that can be mounted on a freely moving mouse to monitor the activity of neurons and glial cells and a 2.9-gram fiber-optic two-photon microscope for imaging cells deep inside the brain of an active rodent. Now he's working on an even bolder project, developing optical imaging technology for simultaneously recording neural activity in the brains of 100 fruit flies. Compared with current methods, which allow imaging only one fly at a time, such "massively parallel brain imaging" could open up research questions that have been out of reach, Schnitzer says.