By a showing of hands: how many of you started this New Year with the resolution to get moving? Burn off those extra holiday calories, or finally really get in shape? Because, let’s be honest, it’s all about willpower right? “Just do it!”
Optogenetics - making neurons sensitive to activation by light - is a great tool in the unraveling of the function of the brain in biological processes and behavior. In a recent study by Rodrigo J. De Marco and his colleagues used optogenetic techniques to uncover the role of the pituitary in zebrafish larvae behavior after the onset of stress.
Learning paradigms have long been the hallmark in studies on neurological and psychiatric disorders, but they often present challenges and come with limitations. For example, many of these tasks require some combination of food restrictions, handling of the animals, and/or are quite labor-intensive. Sylics recently introduced a new paradigm, called CognitionWall, that you might have already seen on our website, and aims to get around some of these limitations.
Unless you grow plants commercially, you may very well not know what a thrips is. It is a tiny insect that can have a not-so-tiny effect on plants. Thrips pierce plant leaves and flowers and suck out their contents. And, not less important, many plant viruses are known to be transmitted by thrips . Needless to say, a lot of research is currently carried out on how to get rid of these creatures.
One of the great things about working for Noldus IT is its involvement in scientific research projects. Because the tools that we offer are used in scientific research, it is logical that we also participate in projects for which such tools are developed.
We sleep a large portion of our lives. We need to, we know this, and science proves it. Sleep helps us to process what we have learned, to let our nervous system function properly, and to concentrate during the day. We have all been there: a bit of stress or anxiety for a big day coming up leads to not sleeping well, and we suffer the consequences. Loss of concentration, maybe a bit cranky… my mother always told me sleep makes everything better. And now researchers have proven that it can heal the brain. The question is, how?
Any insect that flies at night must deal with bat predation. Take a moth, for example. Moths arrived first on the evolutionary stage; when much later on bats appeared with their sophisticated apparatus for echolocating prey, moths were forced to change or die. Some species developed ears to hear the approach of a bat; this generally evokes evasive flight maneuvers like loops and dives. Other species acquired distasteful chemicals that gave them a repugnant or poisonous taste. Some even developed the ability to produce sounds that seem to confuse, and sometimes thwart, an attacking bat.
For a few years now, optogenetics has been the answer to shortcomings of using pharmaceuticals or electrodes in brain research. The temporal and spatial precision of optogenetic methods rapidly produced many new insights into neural networks in the normal and diseased brain. But like any other methodology, optogenetics also has limitations. Although wireless options have been developed, optogenetics means neuronal control by light, and delivering this light to the selected brain cells is still an invasive method (unless you are using larval zebrafish). Additionally, the method can be difficult to scale up, including to more neurons, deeper brain tissues, or larger brains.
The Zebrafish Multi-Chambered Exploratory Test (ZEMCET)
Today we have another guest writing for us, or actually two. I met Frank Scalzo (Bard College, New York) at last year's annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago and I was very curious to find out more about their research using multi-chambered set-ups for their zebrafish larvae. Frank M. Scalzo and his colleague Brandon Chen were kind enough to share their insights in this blog post. Enjoy!
We recently teamed up with a new partner, Maze Engineers, to extend our portfolio of video tracking solutions. They also have a great blog, and today we would like to share one of their recent posts with you. Find the original article here and their blog here. Thanks, Maze Engineers, for letting us share this post with our readers!