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03.19.18 - Miniscope Imaging of the Brain

Dr. Xiangmin Xu, discusses miniscope imaging of the brains of mice


On March 9 at CALIT2, Dr. Xiangmin Xu, an associate professor with the UC Irvine School of Medicine’s Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, discussed his research and previewed a current Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) faculty-mentored design project.

Xu’s presentation titled, “Miniscope Imaging of the Brain,” focused on new and emerging technologies that have recently been applied to neuroscience research.

The miniaturized microscope “miniscope”, is a fluorescent microscope that allows researchers to study active brain activity in live mice. the device is roughly the height of a Lego brick, and weighs less than 3 grams. “As the miniscope is small and light, the animals move around with it very well,” Xu said.

Xu’s laboratory has developed and applied head-mounted miniscopes to image hundreds of brain cells in one field of view in freely behaving mice. Miniature microscopic imaging of neural activities in the intact brain allows for studying how neural activities at single-cell resolution are associated with learning and memory, and spatial navigation. This research is being applied toward understanding neural circuit mechanisms that underlie neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease.

Twelve MDP fellows are working with Xu to develop new hardware design and improved software analysis to help refine miniscope imaging.

Now in its eighth year, MDP is sponsored by CALIT2 and UCI’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). It is open to high-achieving UCI undergraduate or graduate students in any discipline with a strong drive to pursue multidisciplinary research as part of a team with different backgrounds and skills. MDP Fellows receive hands-on collaborative research opportunities that explore the fields of energy, environment, healthcare and culture.

MDP fellows will demonstrate the results of their work at a symposium, Saturday, May  26 at CALIT2.

 For more information about the Multidisciplinary Design Program visit:

-- Sharon Henry