When the lights are on, the brain is at work: U of A chemists build glowing red tool for brain mapping

University of Alberta chemists have built a molecule that will shed new light on brain disease research — red, flashing light, specifically. Combining proteins from red-glowing coral and the sac-like sea squirt, PhD student Ahmed Abdelfattah constructed a new tool called FlicR1 for scientists to see messages move through brain tissue. “The brain is like a black box. There’s lots of research into it, but not a lot of people know a lot about it,” Abdelfattah said. “It’s 80 billion cells acting in a small volume that are doing amazing things, but we don’t know what they’re doing.” For years, researchers have been using electricity to study how messages move around our minds. The method has limitations — only so many electrodes fit to tap into dozens, or hundreds, of…


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