This technique, known as magnified analysis of proteome (MAP), should help scientists in their ongoing efforts to chart the connectivity and functions of neurons in the human brain, says Kwanghun Chung, the Samuel A. Goldblith Assistant Professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and a member of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.
“We use a chemical process to make the whole brain size-adjustable, while preserving pretty much everything. We preserve the proteome (the collection of proteins found in a biological sample), we preserve nanoscopic details, and we also preserve brain-wide connectivity,” says Chung, the senior author of a paper describing the method in the July 25 issue of Nature Biotechnology.
The researchers also showed that the technique is applicable to other organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.
The paper’s lead authors are postdoc Taeyun Ku, graduate student Justin Swaney, and visiting scholar Jeong-Yoon Park.