From ORNL: “ORNL researchers apply imaging, computational expertise to St. Jude research”

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

July 6, 2017
Stephanie G. Seay
seaysg@ornl.gov
865.576.9894

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Left to right: ORNL’s Derek Rose, Matthew Eicholtz, Philip Bingham, Ryan Kerekes, and Shaun Gleason.

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Measuring migrating neurons in a developing mouse brain.

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Identifying and analyzing neurons in a mouse auditory cortex.
No image credits for above images

In the quest to better understand and cure childhood diseases, scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital accumulate enormous amounts of data from powerful video microscopes. To help St. Jude scientists mine that trove of data, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created custom algorithms that can provide a deeper understanding of the images and quicken the pace of research.

The work resides in St. Jude’s Department of Developmental Neurobiology in Memphis, Tennessee, where scientists use advanced microscopy to capture the details of phenomena such as nerve cell growth and migration in the brains of mice. ORNL researchers take those videos and leverage their expertise in image processing, computational science, and machine learning to analyze the footage and create statistics.

A recent Science article details St. Jude research on brain plasticity, or the ability of the brain to change and form new connections between neurons. In this work, ORNL helped track mice brain cell electrical activity in the auditory cortex when the animals were exposed to certain tones.

ORNL researchers created an algorithm to measure electrical activations, or signals, across groups of neurons, collecting statistics and making correlations between cell activity in the auditory cortex and tones heard by the mice. The team first had to stabilize the video because it was taken while the mice were awake and moving to ensure a proper analysis was being conducted, said Derek Rose, who now leads the work at ORNL.

See the full article here .

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