1. Watching an embryo's neural tube close

    Watching an embryo's neural tube close

    In those precious weeks before a woman even realizes she's pregnant, an embryo will have already developed a neural tube, a hollow structure made of cells which will eventually become the brain and spinal cord. Now, with $3.2 million from the National Institutes of Health, UH professor of biomedical engineering Kirill Larin will tackle the evolutionary anomaly of why the neural tube closes in most embryos but remains open in others, leading to birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Neural Tube Defects (NTD) are the second most common structural birth defect in humans, affecting upwards of ...

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    1. We will create this hybrid microscope putting these two powerful technologies together. OCT will image the development of the neural tube while at the same time, Brillouin spectroscopy will probe its mechanical properties. We will be imaging and sensing at the same time...If we find out what causes the tube to close, what is exactly happening, we can develop new drug treatments for at-risk embryos...It's still one of the great mysteries of life, no one on earth knows how this happens and that is really exciting to us, because we will be the ones to find out.
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