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New Tools for Neurobiology

New Content ItemGuest Editors: Michael Stryker, Mu-ming Poo, Joshua Sanes, Leslie Vosshall

New tools are transforming Neurobiology, both in the way experiments are being done and the questions they are addressing. 
For this series we have invited reviews, Q&As and commentaries on new methods of observation and analysis that are enhancing our understanding of the complex workings of the brain. 
We will consider methodology manuscripts that report a new method or technique of broad interest, or a significant improvement on an existing method that will accelerate discovery. Research manuscripts that bring fresh insights through the use of recently developed methods will also be considered.

Please use the online submission system, and indicate in your covering letter that you would like the manuscript to be considered for the “New Tools in Neurobiology” series. If you would like to inquire about the suitability of a manuscript for consideration, please email a pre-submission inquiry to 

Image adapted from Q&A by Ed Boyden and colleagues in this series; originally published by Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Biotechnology, copyright 2016, and adapted with permission

  1. Question and Answer

    Q&A: The brain under a mesoscope: the forest and the trees

    Neurons relevant to a particular behavior are often widely dispersed across the brain. To record activity in groups of individual neurons that might be distributed across large distances, neuroscientists and o...

    Nicholas James Sofroniew

    BMC Biology 2017 15:82

    Published on: 14 September 2017

  2. Question and Answer

    Q&A: using Patch-seq to profile single cells

    Individual neurons vary widely in terms of their gene expression, morphology, and electrophysiological properties. While many techniques exist to study single-cell variability along one or two of these dimensi...

    Cathryn R. Cadwell, Rickard Sandberg, Xiaolong Jiang and Andreas S. Tolias

    BMC Biology 2017 15:58

    Published on: 6 July 2017

  3. Question and Answer

    Q&A: Expansion microscopy

    Expansion microscopy (ExM) is a recently invented technology that uses swellable charged polymers, synthesized densely and with appropriate topology throughout a preserved biological specimen, to physically ma...

    Ruixuan Gao, Shoh M. Asano and Edward S. Boyden

    BMC Biology 2017 15:50

    Published on: 19 June 2017

  4. Methodology article

    Cell fixation and preservation for droplet-based single-cell transcriptomics

    Recent developments in droplet-based microfluidics allow the transcriptional profiling of thousands of individual cells in a quantitative, highly parallel and cost-effective way. A critical, often limiting ste...

    Jonathan Alles, Nikos Karaiskos, Samantha D. Praktiknjo, Stefanie Grosswendt, Philipp Wahle, Pierre-Louis Ruffault, Salah Ayoub, Luisa Schreyer, Anastasiya Boltengagen, Carmen Birchmeier, Robert Zinzen, Christine Kocks and Nikolaus Rajewsky

    BMC Biology 2017 15:44

    Published on: 19 May 2017

  5. Commentary

    Knowing where the nose is

    Improvements in imaging technology and the development of powerful machine learning algorithms are revolutionizing the study of animal behavior in the laboratory. These innovations promise to reveal both globa...

    Winthrop F. Gillis and Sandeep R. Datta

    BMC Biology 2017 15:42

    Published on: 15 May 2017

  6. Methodology article

    A multi-animal tracker for studying complex behaviors

    Animals exhibit astonishingly complex behaviors. Studying the subtle features of these behaviors requires quantitative, high-throughput, and accurate systems that can cope with the often rich perplexing data.

    Eyal Itskovits, Amir Levine, Ehud Cohen and Alon Zaslaver

    BMC Biology 2017 15:29

    Published on: 6 April 2017