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Advances in neuroscience
Date: 2007/11/12 18:58 By: Naoum Status: Admin  
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This thread discusses the Content article: Advances in neuroscience

I attended this year's SFN, and was really impressed. The field is moving very quickly.

Here are my picks for the best neuroscience stories of the last couple of years. They revolve around big advances in techniques.

1. The coming of age of Channelrhodopsin - mice and other model systems can now be genetically engineered with ion channels that can be turned on and off with light pulses. Channels that both activate and suppress neuronal activity, each with a different wavelength of light, can now be expressed and studied in vivo and in vitro.

2. In vivo 2-photon microscopy to study brain organization and plasticity at high resolution. This method gives sub-cellular resolution of activity in response to stimuli - so you can know how an individual dendritic spine responds to a visual scene, or how an autism gene changes the growth of individual neuronal processes. Amazing.

3. Identification of neuronal stem cells using MRI spectroscopy in the living human brain. This is a new story, and it's really quite promising for both basic research and diagnostics of neurodegenerative diseases.

On a side note, San Diego was a great venue. Plenty of hotels in walking distance to the convention center, good restaurants, and - even with a bit of hazy smoke left over from the fires - the weather was great.
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