Notes on the opening of the Zeiss-UCB BrainMIC

Cortical neurons -  H.Adesknik

Cortical neurons - H.Adesknik

Last night I was very privileged to attend the opening reception for the Zeiss-UCB Brain Microscopy Innovation Center opening (BrainMIC). The opening talk was by Dr. Isacoff the director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. He showed several images and clips of current research with optogenetics and live imaging of neural activity. He outlined the goal of the joint interdisciplinary team at UCB and the goals moving forward with Zeiss making the technology that will be used to meet them. The presentation was astounding, I was totally mesmerized. The 

Next up was Mr. Sharp the President of Zeiss. He gave a really inspiring speech about how the company was founded by one man who needed to quickly add a mathematician and chemist to really get going (the famous Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott). This spirit of combing disciplines made the company great and he sounded so proud to be working with the BrainMIC to come up with the next gen of tech to visualize these projects. I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Here's the goal of the BrainMIC: 

A resource for the neuroscience community: The BrainMIC is a big step forward in our efforts to overcome a major challenge for the BRAIN Initiative: making new tools accessible to the broad community. There has been a rapid advance in the optical tools available to detect and control neuronal activity and synaptic transmission. These powerful tools are an important and exciting step toward deciphering the neuronal circuits that command essential brain functions, such as perception, movement, and memory. However, for these tools to yield breakthrough discoveries there is a need for commercially available microscopes that are optimized for use with emerging neurotechnologies.

The BrainMIC mission is to provide the technology and training required to make the use of new optical tools widely achievable. Using novel approaches developed at UC Berkeley, the BrainMIC will fast-track the commercial development of new microscopes, optical components, and analysis methods. In addition, the BrainMIC will offer an intensive winter course and user training.
 Image by Richard Hakim

 Image by Richard Hakim

Optogenetics is so fascinating! I'll write about it and President Obama's BRAIN Initiative Project next!