Daniel Oran, Pablo Valdes, Alex Wissner-Gross, Fei Chen, Linyi Gao, Sam Rodriques, Paul Tillberg, Asmamaw "Oz" Wassie, Shahar Alon, Jae-Byum Chang, Ru Wang, Yongxin Zhao, Manos Karagiannis, Adam Marblestone, Alexander Clifton, Jeremy Wohlwend, Andrew Payn
Brain circuits are large, 3D structures. However, the building blocks–proteins, signaling complexes, synapses–are organized with nanoscale precision. This presents a fundamental tension in neuroscience: to understand a neural circuit, you might need to map a large diversity of nanoscale building blocks, across an extended spatial expanse. We are developing a new suite of tools that enable the mapping of the location and identity of the molecular building blocks of the brain, so that comprehensive taxonomies of cells, circuits, and computations might someday become possible, even in entire brains. One of the technologies we are developing enables large, 3D objects to be imaged with nanoscale precision, by physically expanding the sample–a tool we call expansion microscopy (ExM). We are working to improve expansion microscopy further, and are working, often in interdisciplinary collaborations, on a suite of new labeling and analysis techniques to enable multiplexed readout.