Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

The study was conducted in cultured mouse neurons, but Cohen and his colleagues plan to use Arch to measure neuronal activity in live animals, starting with simple organisms, such as the zebrafish and the worm C. elegans. One advantage of these animals is that they’re transparent, making it easy to see the fluorescent signal through a microscope.

Arch could also prove useful for imaging electrical signals in the mammalian brain, especially for experiments in mice, which could be genetically engineered to express the protein in specific neurons or at specific times in development, for example.

The challenge of transferring the approach to animals is making sure the fluorescent signal stays strong and consistent. “In the living brain, light gets absorbed—for example, by blood—so you lose light,” says Ed Boyden, the researcher at MIT who led the study that used Arch to silence neurons.

The fluorescence given off by Arch also isn’t as bright as some of the other available dyes, but its low toxicity makes this less of a concern, because researchers could compensate by using higher concentrations. “The fact that they got it to work well in mouse neurons bodes well,” says Peterka.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Credit: Adam Cohen, Harvard University

Tagged: Biomedicine, brain, neurons, flourescent

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me