In the century since scientists first peered at fragile slices of brain tissue under a microscope, scientists have developed ever more advanced ways to look at the brain on the cellular level from electron microscopy to optogenetics. Supported by a U.S. BRAIN Initiative grant through the National Institutes of Health, Elizabeth Hillman and her research team at Columbia University are advancing imaging even further with a new technique called SCAPE (Swept, Confocally-Aligned Planar Excitation Microscopy).
SCAPE captures data from the brains of live organisms in real-time, producing 3D images of neurons at 10 to 20 volumes per second while the body is actively moving. Not only will this technique change what scientists can see and understand about the brain, but it will also enhance collaborations between researchers, propelling the field of neuroscience.