Neuroscientists develop new tools to safely trace brain circuits

A portion of the brainstem called the lateral vestibular nucleus–an area of the brain involved in balance and movement. The green neurons are infected with the newly developed rabies virus. These neurons may have an important role in motor control. Credit: Andrew Murray Scientists at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute have developed a new viral tool that dramatically expands scientists’ ability to probe the activity and circuitry of brain cells, or neurons, in the mouse brain. These findings highlight an innovative feat of molecular engineering that allows the creation of a more complete map of the brain’s cellular circuits and will help researchers on their way toward unraveling the mysteries of the brain. This research was reported today in the journal Neuron. “At its core, every…


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