Greg Funk, Jennifer Zwicker, Tuca Alvares and Vishaal Rajani (Credit: University of Alberta)
Researchers from the University of Alberta are capitalizing on one of the hottest new neuroscientific research trends—combinations of optical and genetic techniques called “Optogenetics”—in an attempt to help improve the treatment given to premature infants.
Led by neuroscientist Greg Funk, who received a five-year, $778,000 research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, University of Alberta researchers use both optical and genetic research methods to study how the brain controls breathing. Specifically, Funk and his team will apply optogenetic research by shining various wavelengths of light on different areas of the brain in order to study the rhythms responsible for breathing.
Working with additional researchers Alex Gourine from University College London and Sergey Kasparov from the University of Bristol, the University of Alberta team will use their optogenetic techniques to investigate the role of . . . → Read More: Shine a Light on Research: Using Optogenetics to Help Premature Babies Breathe Easier
The next time you’re looking to kill some time with a good game, consider leaving the Wii remote in its cradle—choose a different game your pastime could be helping humankind.
Phylo – A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics is a new interactive game developed by researchers at McGill University as a way to harness people’s spare time to help decipher genetic sequences.
Genetic Code (Credit: RambergMediaImages)
In order to better understand the structure of genes, researchers compare genetic sequences to each other to try to identify common regions. This comparison, called multiple sequence alignment, is traditionally carried out through complex computer algorithms. However, because people are naturally inclined to solve puzzles, they are to recognize and correct gaps in patterns more efficiently than computers.
Capitalizing on human abilities to optimize genetic sequences, McGill researchers—led by researcher Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl—have developed the Phylo game.
People who play the . . . → Read More: This Ain’t No Atari: McGill Researchers Want You to Play Genetic Games