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JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Picture shows a scientist using a syringe containing several hundred Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes to load a device developed at the University of Southampton. Using the device to hold the 1 millimetre-long worms it has been found possible to record the neuronal 'brain' activity of these microscopic creatures. It is hoped such information can be used as a high-throughput screening technology for neuroactive and neurotoxic compounds. The device, the size of a microscope slide, was developed by a multidisciplinary team of engineers and neuroscientists at the University of Southampton's Life Sciences Institute led by Professor Lindy Holden-Dye. Electronics engineer Chunxiao Hu optimised the microfluidic chamber which uses a series of micro-valves. This introduces one nematode at a time into a precision engineered channel where it is held in place whilst neuronal activity is measured under various conditions.
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