Learning curve

23 03 2014

While I was building up to collect new brains, Kathryn was busy looking at our previous batch. Kelsy in Elena‘s lab helped her Nissl stain, but the results were disappointing. It’s not possible to see clear cortical layers (top image, 10x), because some cells have vanished leaving gaps (lower image, 40 x).

10x 23R-18L.2

The problem was my bad choice of formalin, which can create a highly-fixed outside shell without penetrating well into tissue. Kathryn’s done a brilliant job helping a non-neuroscientist learn neuroscience: a wierd position for an undergrad in but she’s risen to it.  So for our new brains, we not only used PFA but refreshed it twice in 24h. (If that doesn’t work, next time we’ll have to ‘perfuse‘: a creepy procedure where the animal’s heart is used as a pump to circulate the PFA  – something I’d really, really like to avoid…)

40x 23R-18L.3