The goal of the MINT Hub, Multimodal Integrated Neural Technologies, is to provide a variety of tools having a common theme: connect the neurophysiology and structure analysis with greater scale and resolution than previously possible. MINT’s tools will be available for researchers to use in their own labs. We will be training 12-18 researchers annually at our workshops held in the Spring. (Please register at our website to receive news letters about the workshop and advances in our technology platforms.) We will advance and disseminate catalytic technology for the precise targeting of single cells using state-of-the-art hardware in the form of high-density electrodes, chemical sensing, optical stimulation, carbon microthreads, and advanced electrodes. We are also advancing wetware tools for this purpose, namely systemic AAV delivery and stochastic neuron labeling. Our research is guided by the needs of the neuroscience community, whose input we will capture in our registration database. We encourage you to see if this suite of structure-function technologies will help your research.
Key Research Resources Being Developed and Disseminated
The hub will offer unique materials and form factors for high-density recording, including carbon microthreads (the smallest electrodes demonstrated to date) and silicon arrays that have built-in micro-LEDs (μLEDs). Advanced electrode materials, such as nanofractal metal alloys (Weiland) will benefit all bioelectronics interfaces and technologies by reducing the electrode impedance to improve the signal to noise ratio (SNR). Carbon electrodes also provide a unique modality for high-SNR neurotransmitter sensing. In synergy with advanced neurotechnology, members of our team are developing and optimizing AAV vector delivery and tissue clearing in the nervous system and combine these with “Brainbow” or “XFP” multispectral labeling for intact cell phenotyping. Furthermore, open-source nTracer software is being developed to greatly improve the accuracy and efficiency of anatomical reconstruction as a powerful tool for creating connectivity maps. How do you use these together in your research? MINT also offers several means to train you on the methods behind each of these. Sign up on our website to learn more about our annual workshop and new publications that come from the supported teams.
Dissemination for these technologies is ramping up as we begin the second year. Please visit our Technologies page for information about hardware datasheets and publications that describe how to use each. Please register on the site and contact us ContactMINT@umich.edu. All hardware is currently being fabricated at a pilot production level and samples are being made available. We are trying to support as many labs as possible with the resources we have. The generic AAV-PHP with several capsid options is currently being supplied through our support of CalTech’s Clover and some versions are available at Addgene. We hope to offer more options through the University of Michigan Vector Core soon. Free samples of AAV-PHP.b-Brainbow will also be made available this year.