Summer 2019

Watching the wheels turn


A new device is allowing neuroscientists to see something they’ve never seen before: the entire brain surface as it functions in real time. 

Developed by U researchers and supported in part by philanthropy, See-Shell is a 3D-printed transparent skull implant for mice. It enables research that could shed light on human conditions such as concussions, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

“This will give us new information about how the human brain works,” says Suhasa Kodandaramaiah, Benjamin Mayhugh Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and one of the developers of See-Shell.

The device is currently being used to examine how a mild concussion in one part of the brain affects other parts as the brain reorganizes structurally and functionally. 

“These are studies we couldn’t do in humans,” says Kodandaramaiah’s collaborator Timothy Ebner, the Max E. and Mary LaDue Pickworth Endowed Chair in Neuroscience, “but they are extremely important in our understanding of how the brain works so we can improve treatments.”