CLARITY finally published!

If you were at SFN last year, you might have managed to catch a glimpse of this poster buried inside a large crowd of neuroscientists. I didn’t even attempt to see the poster up close; instead I gathered what I could from those who escaped to the fringe of the mob after seeing the poster and video demonstration playing on an ipad. Those who I spoke to where wide-eyed and giddy. They told me tales of a magical method that could turn brains invisible..

Of course making tissue transparent for subsequent optical investigation is nothing new, but then that wasn’t the whole story! Supposedly with this magical technique you could subsequently perform whole brain immuno-staining.. and not just that.. you could do it multiple times!!

Ok, so on the surface this sounds pretty cool… but then you see the videos like the one from Nature’s video channel here and you start to realize this is pretty amazing…

…then you read more about the method itself (from a commentary here and the actual publication here) and you start to really comprehend how useful this technique could be for understanding projections in the whole brain…

…and then you read that this can be applied to not just a mouse brain, but ANY brain… so you can do this to a brain from a rat, zebrafish, non-human primate … really any model organisms being used for neuroscience research! Of course you can forget using a model system and just use actual human tissue…the paper even shows an interesting finding using some human cortex from an autistic patient that had been stored in formalin for over 6 years!! …

… and then finally it makes sense why most of the neuroanatomists at SFN where walking away from the CLARITY poster looking like this…

I should add, this exciting new technique was developed in the lab of Karl Deisseroth, who you might recognize as one of the developers of optogenetics. I think it’s safe to say that he is feeling pretty good right about now.

Dr. Deisseroth this morning when the CLARITY paper was officially published.

I’ll end this overload of animated GIFs with a link to just one of several articles that are popping up all over the internet. This one had a link to a video of Dr. Deisseroth himself describing the process in an interview. You can check that out here as well.


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