background image
¡°Using optical methods to stimulate
and record from neurons is the future
of neuroscience research,¡± said Baris
Ozbay, a doctoral student in bioengi-
neering at CU Anschutz and lead author
of the paper.
¡°But most researchers are adapting
existing large microscopes to fit mice
for head-fixed imaging which limits
movement, is difficult to set up and
has issues with motion. The solution is
to put the microscope on the mouse,
rather than putting the mouse on the
microscope.¡±
Emily Gibson, PhD, assistant profes-
sor of bioengineering at CU Anschutz
and senior author of the study, said
the microscope opens a new world for
scientists.
¡°We can now measure a large region
and sample more neurons,¡± she said.
¡°For example, we can image up to 100
neurons at the same time, as opposed to perhaps the 10 or so we could
do in the past.¡±
All of this has potential human applications as well.
¡°The ability to see beneath the surface of the brain offers new, powerful
ways to study brain function,¡± said Restrepo, a professor of cell and de-
velopmental biology. ¡°It will help us understand brain disease and formu-
late new treatments.¡±
Other possibilities include:
Screening pharmaceuticals targeted to specific brain disorders.
Allowing neurosurgeons to image small brain areas like those targeted
in the treatment of Parkinson¡¯s disease.
Conducting optical, in situ, biopsies for diagnosis of brain tumors.
Examining the connection between neural damage and controlling pros-
thetic limbs.
Research was made possible by a $1 million grant from the National Sci-
ence Foundation.
The other authors on the paper include Justin T. Losacco and Richard Weir
from CU Anschutz; Robert McCormack, Victor Bright and Juliet T. Gopi-
nath of the University of Colorado Boulder.
(by David Kelly, University Communications, source: CU Anschutz Medical
Campus, www.ucdenver.edu/anschutz)
CO Researchers Open New World For Scientists
Create laser-scanning microscope allowing for deep brain exploration
Soft batteries made
from trees... Pg 3
A day to honor
Fathers... Pg 5
Gardening for
health... Pg 6
Chicago visits
Aspen... Pg 12
Tiny fiber-optic device fits on head of a
mouse; offers new, powerful ways
to study brain function
AURORA, CO, May 12, 2015: A team of neu-
roscientists and bioengineers at the Univer-
sity of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
have created a miniature, fiber-optic micro-
scope designed to peer deeply inside a living
brain.
The researchers, including scientists from
CU-Boulder, published details of their revo-
lutionary microscope in the latest issue of
¡®Optics Letters¡¯ journal.
¡°Microscopes today penetrate only about
one millimeter into the brain but almost
everything we want to see is deeper than
that,¡± said Prof. Diego Restrepo, PhD, one of
the paper¡¯s authors and director of the Cen-
ter for NeuroScience at CU Anschutz. ¡°You
can manipulate this lens while most others
are fixed. That means you can see neurons
firing inside a living brain.¡±
2015 JUNE #6-5
The laser-scanning microscope, a prototype which will be further refined,
uses fiber-optics and a tiny electrowetting lens. Compared to other small,
focusing lenses, it¡¯s fast and not sensitive to motion. This allows it to reliably
focus on living tissue.
At the same time, the lens allows a rapid shifting of focus by applying elec-
tricity across two different liquids, which actually changes the curvature of
lens.
¡°The solution is to put the microscope on
the mouse, rather than putting the mouse
on the microscope.¡± - Baris Ozbay, lead author,
doctoral student in bioengineering, CU Anschutz
The microscope, about half an inch in diameter, can be directly mounted onto
the head of a mouse. A thin, fiber optic cord will allow the animal to freely
roam while scientists look inside its brain and monitor reactions to certain
stimuli.
That means parts of the living brain like the amygdala, which had been virtu-
ally off-limits to microscopes, will soon be seen in real-time, high-resolution,
3-D images.
The laser-scanning microscope, a prototype which will be further
refined, uses fiber-optics and a tiny electrowetting lens. Image:
CU Anschutz Medical Campus, www.ucdenver.edu/anschutz
FREE