Mapping the mind with BARseq | News World

Understanding the connections between different brain areas could pave the way to better treatment strategies for conditions like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and depression.

In 2019, as a postdoc in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s (CSHL’s) Zador lab, Xiaoyin Chen helped develop a technique to map these connections. BARseq identifies cells in the brain by the genes they use and traces the connecting neural circuitry. Early versions of BARseq mapped gene expression across thousands of neural pathways, using “barcodes” or short snippets of RNA.

Chen is now an assistant investigator at the Allen Brain Institute. He recently reunited with CSHL Professor Anthony Zador to upgrade BARseq’s capabilities. What does that look like? Instead of thousands of neurons, BARseq can now map millions.

“We are focused on pushing BARseq forward. We want to make this easy for everybody to use, faster, more sensitive. Can we read out more information with it? With much higher scale, you can start to…


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