Monday, July 09, 2007

Journal of Visualized Experiments

This month's edition of Wired magazine has a little blurb about a website which features videos of experimental procedures and techniques. Launched last October by former Harvard researcher Moshe Pritsker, the Journal of Visualized Experiments is a fantastic idea that I would like to point everyone's attention to.

The journal's still a work in progress (nothing's gone viral yet), but just wait. "No one has published results in video before," Pritsker says. "Scientists don't know how to do it." Here are a few of the journal's faves.
Must-See Experiments

Culture of Mouse Neural Stem Cell Precursors

D. Spencer Currle, Jia Sheng Hu, Aaron Kolski-Andreaco, Edwin S. Monuki, UC Irvine.
Video Extracting a mouse uterus, removing embryos, and harvesting stem cells from the cerebral cortex.
Goal Improving stem-cell handling skills for eventual use on human cells.
Highlight Close shot demonstrating how to use bent forceps to tease out cortical tissue

Studying Aggression in Drosophila
Sarah Certel, Edward A. Kravitz, Sibu Mundiyanapurath, Harvard Medical School.
Video Building glass arenas and staging bouts between drosophila.
Goal Figuring out how aggression is wired in the brain.
Highlight It's fruit-fly fight club — close-up lunges, blocks, and feints

Testing Visual Sensitivity to the Speed and Direction of Motion in Lizards
Kevin L. Woo, Centre for the Integrative Study of Animal Behaviour, Macquarie University, Sydney
Video Coaxing Jacky dragons (an Australian lizard species) to take cues from moving dots.
Goal Working with lizards as a model for motion sensing.
Highlight The lizard actually completes the experiment. It's tough to motivate reptiles to stay interested in scientific work, Woo says
On a funny side note, my husband pointed this article out to me and said he thought that one of the authors of the Drosophila video was Sarah Doom, one of the Boston Derby Dames. He based this on the knowledge that Sarah Doom studies fruit flies at Harvard and her name is Sarah (how many could there be?). Apparently at least two, because I don't believe that is her. Cheers!

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