Following global events since the start of 2020, we can expect the squeeze on neuroscience research funding to become even tighter. This challenge will require resourcefulness from the neuroscience community.
NeuroGig was established earlier in 2020 with the purpose of improving access to and enhancing the impact of neuroscience lab-tech. They approach this by developments around the open-source hardware philosophy and building networking and community platforms for neuroscientists.
Find NeuroGig at #NRB here.
Happen to have stuff in your lab that you won’t be needing anymore? An optical filter? An objective? A microscope? Free up your shelves, help your community and sell or donate your products to other labs! Support or supply other researchers while also earning enough to buy some disposables or wanted rig components for yourself.
#NRB Classifieds is an online service providing end-users or manufacturers a platform where they can get a chance to advertise those products which they do not need anymore. These can include new, unopened products, or used, even inoperable devices, equipment.
This service is specifically dedicated to neuroscience equipment ! Much better than ebay ;-) You can browse products of your interest and not get caught up among the thousands of other products.
It is just as easy as your first anatomy exam... No, it is much easier!
Just upload an image of the product you would like to sell or donate after registration, give the neccessary information via a simple form, and that is it: just wait for the inflooding requests.
The owners of these ads can be reached directly through the contact details provided underneath.
Oh, and yes, it is free for both labs and individuals to use...
Supertech’s Physiological-Biological Temperture Controller has provided noise-free heating from the start, with the first version being developed in the early 2000s. Since then it has been going through continuous improvements. Currently researchers around the world choose this device every day, combining it with accessories like heating pads, solution heaters and many more. Optimized for shielded environments in microelectrode laboratories, the design fulfills all requirements of any sophisticated electrophysiology application, even in close proximity to high impedance recording electrodes. Sophisticated fault diagnostic features, developed specifically for biological heating applications, are built into the firmware introducing adaptive PID parameters.
Find this product in #NRB portfolio here.
Hippocampus is well-known as the center of spatial navigation and learning. Prof. Häusser and his team have recently published a very exciting article about direct modification of spatial navigation memories via holographical optogenetic stimulation. They applied virtual reality to train the animals for certain tasks and used two-photon deep imaging to visualize the place cell ensembles. They claimed stimulation of only a dozen unique place cell could be enough changing the behavior of the animal. This is the first direct evidence for a casual role of in place cell in navigation. This is a huge step to understand the memory encoding of the hippocampus. Congratulations for the authors!
Graphical abstract of the experimental design and results:
Understanding of the dynamics of neuronal ensembles in the brain is as much important as the examination of the contribution of a single neuron during neuronal processes. State of the art rigs support the idea to examine large neuronal populations. Moreover, these populations tend to be cooperative with each other, but it is still unknown how stable these ensembles and their connections. Dr. Rafael Yuste and his lab’s goal is to understand the long-term stability of these neuronal ensembles in mouse visual cortex. They applied two-photon volumetric calcium microcopy to perform chronic calcium imaging for several weeks. They found visually-evoked ensembles were quite stable. Their results suggest that these neuronal populations implement long-term memories.
For more information: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.28.359117v1
Optogenetics is a technique that grants the manipulation of neuronal activity. This method allows for targeted excitation and/or inhibition of specific neuronal populations.
A particular protein of interest is expressed in the targeted cells. This protein – called the optogenetic actuator - has the unique characteristic to be a light-sensitive ion channel. When illuminated with the corresponding wavelength, the channel allows the flow of ions through the cell membrane. This method offers spatiotemporal control of neuronal excitability in living tissue.
For use in vivo, optogenetics requires the implant of an optical fiber (stereotaxic surgery) - to provide the illumination necessary to control the neuronal activity. With most available solutions, the optical fiber is connected to a stimulation unit that provides the light. This technique has the disadvantage of requiring invasive implantation of equipment such as the optical fiber in the animal’s brain.
However, a new channelrhodopsin developed by Deisseroth’s lab allows for the activation of specific neural populations at unprecedented depths of up to 7 mm with millisecond precision. This tool would make possible implant-free deep brain optogenetics.
More information following this link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-020-0679-9.
Recent paper from Professor Bernd Kuhn’s lab shows interesting results about the activity of Layer 6 corticothalamic neurons. They used two-photon long-term deep imaging (up to 8-900 µm) to visualize calcium responses during various behavioral tasks from locomotion to sleep. They found that Layer 6 corticothalamic neurons are either visual stimulus activated, suppressed, or quiet. Moreover, these ensembles complement each other and cause constant heterogeneous activity during any behavior state. That was the very first time to examine Layer 6 neurons with this method.
2P reconstruction of examined area (scale in µm).
In our News post this week, we recommend reading this detailed review article on the current techniques for investigating the brain extracellular space. In this paper, Tønnesen’s lab provides an introduction to in vitro and in vivo current neuroscience lab methods such as point-source diffusion measurement, electron microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, widefield fluorescence microscopy, scanning fluorescence microscopy, and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. These techniques are mainly based on optical imaging and electrical recordings.
This multiplication of methods has offered scientists the opportunity to diversify their approach to a specific scientific question. This article highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each technology. In order to diversify the observations of a given sample, the authors recommend combining several levels of study and methodology to broaden the project perspectives.
Overview of the Current Techniques for Investigating the Brain Extracellular Space - Soria et al.
Presenting our latest addition: the 3D accelerometer!
Connecting behavioral observations to nervous system activity has become increasingly important. Diverse technologies are available for measuring the neuronal activity in freely moving rodents, such as in vivo imaging – e.g. fiber photometry – and electrophysiology recordings. Additionally, it is equally crucial to precisely detect, quantify, and classify animal behaviors.
The 3D accelerometer is used to detect movement onsets and discern specific behaviors, such as rearing. This tool allows head movement measurements at high temporal resolution and along 3 axes independently of each other. Lightweight and compact, the sensor board is easily mounted and can be carried by both mice and rats.
3D accelerometer device, including the sensor board and the sensor cable with connectors
An example of accelerometer measurements of head pitch and roll can be found in this article:
Retrograde tracing, optogenetic manipulation, fiber photometry, cell-specific electrophysiology… Neuroscientists benefit from an increasingly wide range of tools to image and study the activity of neuronal populations. All these experiments rely on the same crucial step: intracerebral surgery. These procedures require specific equipment, from the stereotaxic instruments to the anesthesia methods.
Traditionally carried out through injection, the anesthesia is nowadays mostly performed with the inhalation of anesthetic gas, thanks to its rapid induction and limited recovery time. However, surgical procedures can sometimes be challenging when they are conducted on neonatal mice. A team from Cambridge (Hinze Ho et al.) has decided to tackle this issue by developing its own protocol to control the anesthesia of P0-2 mice. Combined with the design of an anesthetization mould, this method ensures an improved recovery for the rodents.
Access to the research article following this link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2020.108824.
Description of the surgery procedure - Hinze Ho et al.