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Picture of the Day

Expanding the rainbow

What could disposable diapers have to do with microscopy? The polymer that absorbs wetness in a diaper is now a critical element of a new imaging approach called expansion microscopy. These mouse brain cells were treated with both the polymer and glowing dyes to help researchers pinpoint individual cells and trace neural pathways. The process is akin to drawing on a balloon and then blowing it up. A key advantage to expansion is the smooth extension of molecules as they move away from each other. Zeroing in on the smallest parts of the brain could help researchers map the actual cells responsible for initiating disease. These maps could then become the basis for systematic lists of cells to target with therapeutic treatments.

Visit Website | Image credit: Yosuke Bando, Fei Chen Dawen Cai, Ed Boyden and Young Gyu (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)