Bitplane's Imaris Software Helps Scientists Look at Brains in a Totally New Way
31 May 2013

Imaris software from Bitplane, a division of Andor Technology, Belfast, is helping scientists look at brains in a totally new way. Researchers at Stanford University, USA, have developed a novel process that allows them to make a whole mouse brain transparent with the exception of specifically labeled cells – the neurons. This allows researchers to investigate whole networks of neurons that would otherwise be severed by traditional sampling and imaging methods.

Allowing researchers to look deep into the brain and further their understanding of its functions may help them learn more about mental disorders such as autism, depression or schizophrenia. Imaris plays a key role in these investigations by providing accurate and visually stunning 3D renderings as well as the analyses of neurons that accompany this study. 2D images would not give the same depth of understanding, limiting what can be extrapolated from a study. Imaris, with its benchmark 3D capabilities, allows researchers to trace the path neurons take, following each nerve projection through all other cells.

The extent of the information Imaris can process is key, a whole mouse brain has been imaged. Imaris easily handles the very high resolution of the files, which, due to the importance of having clear images, are enormous (equivalent of 1 Million images taken with a conventional SLR digital camera). Imaris allows researchers to process the information they gather, including pulling key measurements from the images, identifying changes and anomalies in the brain, and uncovering the part they play in a range of disease states.

To date scientists have applied this new process, called Clarity, to a whole mouse brain and part of a human brain, but it will also work on other tissues. The researchers behind this method are working to adapt the method so it can be applied to a whole human brain and Imaris will be able to ensure they continue to benefit from the stunning 3D visualizations and powerful analyses that add so much to their studies.

Imaris is Bitplane’s core software platform and delivers industry-leading functionality for visualization and analysis of 3D and 4D microscopy data sets. Imaris has been experiencing ongoing success as it continues to outperform competition due to its higher degree of interaction, ease of use and ability to process very large image data sets.

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Sarah Thomas
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