We use many different kinds of models for studying spinal cord injury. We have projects that look at the mechanism of locomotion and how to restore this mechanism after an injury. The X-CLARITY system helps us understand how the network reorganizes after injury. The X-CLARITY allows you to visualize and follow the course of an axon coming from the motor cortex, coming down to the lumbar spinal cord. You can visualize, in 3D, the course of single or several axons when they go around the lesion for example. This is extremely useful for our work, to see how a network gets reorganized after an injury.
I work mainly on ischemia-reperfusion syndrome. Because we work at a hospital, our main aim is to understand the pathology and then find new targets to help heal patients subjected to this syndrome. What we want to understand is what is happening in the cells – in all cardiac cells – that could lead to failure at the organ level. We’ve got to be able to label and report the expression in the organ. Thanks to X-CLARITY, we now have access to the three dimensions of the whole heart organ.
[The X-CLARITY] has actually been fundamental to the Data Brain Project because without being able to clear tissues of the lipids, we wouldn’t be able to image deep into brains. So we wouldn’t be able to extract that structural information that is so important to understand the function of mammalian brains. It’s been a huge advantage and a great leap forward in imaging.