Navigation Links
ORNL, St. Jude track neurons to predict and prevent disease

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are looking at how developing nerve cells may hold a key to predicting and preventing diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

St. Jude scientists have linked movement and changes of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brains and retinas of young mice to certain diseases. Now, for the first time, they can use ORNL-developed software to analyze these vast amounts of data in record time.

"St. Jude has identified neuron shape abnormalities and neuron migration issues that are linked to specific diseases," said Shaun Gleason of ORNL's Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division. "However, because they have so much data, they can't study it in great detail."

Gleason said ORNL is working with Michael Dyer of St. Jude's Department of Developmental Neurobiology to develop computer software that will automate the process of tracking changes in the shape and position of neurons over time.

One of Gleason's group members, Ryan Kerekes, already has written software to track the movement of neurons by homing in on each cell's centrosomea key cellular structure. This will enable the software to scour a sequence of video images at high speed, looking for specific patterns of migration, Gleason said.

"For example, a member of the St. Jude staff took several weeks to analyze the image data generated by three experiments using a largely manual approach," Gleason said. "Our algorithm can analyze the same data set in approximately two minutes with almost identical results.

"When St. Jude researchers analyze their images, they look for several specific changes, but there may be much more relevant information in those images that they don't have the ability to look for. Our software is designed to help them find this information in a more efficient and objective manner, so they can understand more of what's going on earlier in the developmental process."

The next stage in software development will be focused on automatically detecting when and how neurons branch or grow. Branching patterns and branch orientations can be critical to distinguishing between normally developing neurons and those with the potential to cause disease, Gleason said.

"The ultimate goal of this research is to develop computational tools that recognize how neurons change and move in ways that are unexpected or abnormal, so that neuroscientists at St. Jude and elsewhere can develop ways of addressing these changes to treat and ultimately to prevent neurological diseases," Gleason said. "This research team, being composed of image and computational analysis experts at ORNL and experienced neuroscientists at St Jude, is in a great position to solve some challenging problems in a unique way."


Contact: Jim Pearce
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. ORNL, Southern Cal set sights on preventing blindness
2. New tracking tags are providing fish-eye views of ways to manage depressed fisheries
3. Tracking tigers in 3-D
4. ESAs water mission on track for launch
5. Animal trackers collaborate on new Google Earth for oceans
6. Tracking poultry litter phosphorus: Threat of accumulation?
7. Tracking the molecular pathway to mixed-lineage leukemia
8. VUANCE Announces Crime Scene Security and Evidentiary Tracking Development Project
9. Studies on imaging and tracking transplanted cells
10. UNH researchers track lobster migrations to improve population estimates
11. Track your fitness, environmental impact with new cell phone applications
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  BIOCLAIM announced ... finalist in this year,s Fierce Innovation Awards:  Healthcare Edition, ... FierceHealthIT , FierceHealthcare , ... as a finalist in the category of "Privacy ... --> --> ...
(Date:11/19/2015)...  Based on its in-depth analysis of the biometric ... the 2015 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Product ... this award to the company that has developed the ... the market it serves. The award recognizes the extent ... customer base demands, the overall impact it has in ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... ALBANY, New York , November 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Transparency Market Research has published a new market report ... Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to ... bn in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 ... 2015 to 2021. North America ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea, PhD, HCLD, has joined ... will oversee all IVF lab procedures as well as continue his research efforts into ... 7,305 miles to Auckland, New Zealand to bring home a High Complexity Clinical Laboratory ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... Global Stem Cells Group Chile CEO ... America and abroad for the first Iberoamerican Convention on Aesthetic Medicine, Cosmetology and ... will present and discuss new trends in anti-aging stem cell treatments, regenerative medicine ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group today ... Santiago Marriott. The Global Stem Cells Group GMP facility is equipped with the ... medical researchers and practitioners, experienced in administering stem cell protocols using highly manipulated ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015  An interventional radiology technique shows ... the preliminary results of a study being presented today at ... North America (RSNA). --> ... for decades by interventional radiologists as a way to stop ... procedure as a means of treating obesity is new. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: