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MIT/ILP Calendar Event

One of a Series: Picower Institute

CLARITY & Beyond: Towards complete structural and molecular investigation of the intact brain

March 20, 2013, 11 AM


Dr. Kwanghun Chung

Obtaining detailed structural and molecular information from complex biological systems while simultaneously maintaining the global perspective has long been a fundamental challenge in neuroscience and throughout biology. Current pioneering methods, while proven adequate to study small-scale fine structures, fall short of providing integrated system-wide information. This limitation has severely hampered our understanding of how complex biological phenomena emerge from an intact system. To address this challenge, we have developed a novel technology (which we term CLARITY) that rapidly transforms intact tissue into a hydrogel hybrid that is optically-transparent and macromolecule-permeable while retaining structural and molecular information. This unique framework enables effective and complete access of intact tissue using both light microscopy and molecular phenotyping techniques (immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization). Exogenous macromolecules can rapidly penetrate deep into transmuted tissue for labeling and can be completely removed after imaging, enabling multiple rounds of molecular interrogation in 3D volumes of tissue. The application of CLARITY to the adult mouse brain has enabled imaging of long-range circuits, local circuits, subcellular morphological details, and molecular architectures. Finally, we find that this technique allows fine structural analysis of postmortem human brain, opening the door to the possibility of mapping the human brain at single cellular resolution with integrated molecular information. Taken together, this technology promises to provide high-content system-wide structural and molecular information that may enable integrative understanding of large-scale intact biological systems.


Building 46 Map

Building 46, Room 3002