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264 VOLUME 28 NUMBER 3 MARCH 2010 nature biotechnology A rt i c l e s

Summary: 264 VOLUME 28 NUMBER 3 MARCH 2010 nature biotechnology
A rt i c l e s
MRI is a uniquely valuable tool for studying the brain because MRI scans
are noninvasive and can provide information at relatively high spatial
resolution (<100 µm) and temporal resolution (~1 s) from living speci-
mens. Functional imaging (fMRI) of brain activity is possible with MRI
methods sensitive to cerebral hemodynamics1.The most common fMRI
genation of hemoglobin, an endogenous oxygen-sensitive MRI contrast
agent present in the blood2.Although BOLD fMRI has had a tremendous
impact in neuroscience, the method provides only a slow and indirect
readout of neural activity,owing to the complexity of neurovascular cou-
pling3.Considerablymoreprecisemeasurementsof brainfunctionwould
be possible with MRI sensors that were directly and rapidly responsive to
neurochemicals involved in the brain's information processing4.
The challenging process of developing sensors for next-generation
neuroimaging could be greatly accelerated using advanced molecular
engineering techniques. Directed evolution is a molecular engineering
method that employs successive rounds of mutagenesis and selection
to generate proteins with novel functionality, starting from a molecule


Source: Arnold, Frances H. - Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology


Collections: Chemistry; Biology and Medicine