Rodent

Mini microscopes see inside the brains of mice

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 20, 2013   View Article

Mini microscopes embedded into the brains of genetically engineered mice are providing researchers a window onto the inner workings of the mammalian mind.

The tool provides an unprecedentedly wide field of view on the mouse brain – in one mouse, for example, the team recorded the firing of more than 1,000 individual neurons – and it can record for weeks on end, allowing scientists to study how brain activity evolves over time.

Scientists control rat dreams with technique that could enhance memory

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 6, 2012   View Article

Scientists can sway the dreams of sleeping rats, a breakthrough that could lead to new behavioral and learning therapies in humans that enhance selected memories and block undesired ones, according to a new study.

Going into the study, scientists had already shown that rats dream about what they experience in the hours before drifting off to sleep.

Artificial jellyfish engineered out of rat heart muscles

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 22, 2012   View Article

Scientists have made an artificial jellyfish out of rat heart muscles and rubbery silicon. When given an electric shock, it swims just like the real thing.

Future versions should be able to swim and feed by themselves.

“That then allows us to extend their lifetime,” John Dabiri, a professor of aeronautics and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, told me.

Rat-like image recognition to replace satellites

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 23, 2012   View Article

The images of nearly every major stretch of road taken by Google’s Street View team and the snapshots we capture with our smartphones may soon be all we need to navigate the world, according to an Australian researcher.

That is, we can ditch the expensive satellite and computer technologies that power modern GPS systems and rely on low-resolution pictures instead, Michael Milford, an engineer at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, explained.

3-D model of rat brain circuit created

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 8, 2011   View Article

After six years and several million dollars, scientists have created a 3-D model of a rat brain circuit.

The accomplishment is a first step toward creating a complete computer model of the brain that will allow a deeper understanding of how our noggins work — and what causes them to malfunction, according to the scientists behind the feat.

Virtual whiskers have the touch

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 8, 2011   View Article

A virtual model of rat whiskers may help scientists unlock the mystery of how our brains turn the mechanics of touch into perceptions.

“Our sense of touch is very mysterious. You can reach into your pocket or your purse and without even looking, you can identify your keys, a coin, or a paperclip,” Mirta Hartmann, who studies sensory and neural systems engineering at Northwestern University, explained to me today.

‘Humanized mouse’ among student science prizes

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 9, 2011   View Article

A “humanized mouse” is among four innovations honored this year with the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, an annual invention contest that comes with a $30,000 check.

The mouse has been outfitted with a liver that was engineered to be human-like, a step that could improve the safety and efficiency of the drug discovery process.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach