mbfbioscience.com Relaunched – Take a Look Around our New Website


MBF Bioscience has a bold new web presence. A few weeks ago, we relaunched mbfbioscience.com to reflect the cutting-edge technological innovation that defines our company.

Over the last few years we’ve grown a lot. And so has our customer base. Our landmark products Stereo Investigator and Neurolucida continue to help scientists make revolutionary research discoveries, but now our customers come to us for solutions for research involving whole slide imaging, automated neuron tracing, retinal stimulation, and worm tracking & analysis. We needed a way to organize all the information about everything MBF Bioscience has to offer in a clear and easily accessible way.  So we worked with Hark, a local website design company based here in Vermont, to relaunch our website. The new mbfbioscience.com provides an online platform for current and prospective customers to find out about our products, our company’s history, and the thousands of published papers that cite our software.

Our new website delivers the information our customers are looking for through vivid graphic imagery, tabs, and clearly defined lists. We’ve included detailed contact information for our branch offices in the Midwest, Europe, Asia, and South America, and a dedicated “support” page where customers can learn about the many different ways we offer technical support depending on your preference (live remote assistance, personal phone support, or email support).

We hope you’re as excited about our new website as we are. If you haven’t already, spend some time learning about our company, our products, and our services on our website. Check out our Video Gallery, read about MBF Labs, and watch a webinar on “Automated Neuron Reconstruction,” “Automatic Dendritic Spine Detection,” or “Confocal Stereology.” mbfbioscience.com offers a wide range of interesting original content. We hope you’ll spend some time looking around the new site, and would love to know what you think.

Like what you see? Having trouble finding something in particular? Let us know in the comments section.


Several Distinguished Academic Guests Visit MBF Bioscience

From left to right: Robert Ogilvie, Christoph Schmitz, Nathan O’Connor, Jack Glaser, and Joseph Makurkiewicz.

We were delighted to host three visitors this week: Dr. Robert Ogilvie from the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Joseph Makurkiewicz from the Center for Neuropharmacology & Neuroscience at the Albany Medical College, and Prof. Christoph Schmitz from the Neuroanatomy Department at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (Germany).

Dr. Makurkiewicz and Dr. Ogilvie were meeting with Jack Glaser, President of MBF, and Nathan O’Connor, Product Manager, to learn more about Biolucida Cloud.


Neurolucida is the Leading Software for Neuron Reconstruction

When it comes to preferred neuron reconstruction systems, Neurolucida “dominated the last decade” according to a paper published earlier this year in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

The paper, “Digital reconstructions of neuronal morphology: three decades of research trends” (Halavi et al, 2012), offers an overview of the history of digital neuron reconstruction and presents research trends on specific animal species, brain regions, neuron types, and experimental approaches.

Beginning with our own company co-founder Edmund Glaser’s use of a computer microscope to trace neurons (Glaser and Van der Loos, 1965), the authors go on to describe the development of digital reconstruction techniques to the present day. They explain how in the early 1980s computers with microscopes and digital stages first allowed scientists to successfully reconstruct neurons, and by the turn of the millennium, Neurolucida had become the most widely cited system for neuron tracing and reconstruction.

By analyzing tens of thousands of research papers in a variety of scientific literature databases, the authors identified 902 publications published over the last three decades where neuronal morphology played a central role.

Some interesting statistics from their research include:

  • The neocortex and hippocampus were the most frequently investigated brain regions.
  • Digital reconstructions from the amygdala have only started to be published in the past decade.
  • Pyramidal neurons are the most common reconstructions, making up more than half of the reported cell types in neocortex and hippocampus combined.
  • The numbers of reported reconstructions span a broad range with most reports including between 3 and 100 neurons
  • The average number of reconstructions per publication is significantly increasing and has nearly doubled over the last two decades

Once digital reconstructions were identified, the authors added them to NeuroMorpho.org, an open archive for published neuron reconstructions developed at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia.

Read “Digital reconstructions of neuronal morphology: three decades of research trends” at frontiersin.org.

{Halavi M, Hamilton KA, Parekh R and Ascoli GA (2012). Digital reconstructions of neuronal morphology: three decades of research trends. Front. Neurosci. 6:49. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00049}

Neuroscience 2012 Was a Great Success. Thanks to Everyone Who Stopped By Our Booth!

We put on our 3D glasses and saw neurons like never before. We unveiled AutoSynapse and made synapse analysis easier than ever. And we showed off the newly enhanced versions of all our products from Stereo Investigator to WormLab. Our booth at Neuroscience 2012 was a hive of activity all week! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to try out our software or simply say “hello.” It was so nice catching up with so many of our customers, and meeting so many new people in New Orleans. See you next year in San Diego!

Go to our Facebook page to see all of our photos from Neuroscience 2012.

We’re off to New Orleans for Neuroscience 2012

Fall is an exciting time for us at MBF Bioscience. Not only is it the season for beautiful fall foliage here in Vermont, it’s the season for the Society for Neuroscience‘s annual meeting. One of the most important events for neuroscientists around the world, the meeting is a highlight of our yearly agenda, and we’re thrilled to showcase the latest MBF Bioscience software and product features in New Orleans.

This year, in addition to a dynamic series of new features and enhancements, we’re excited to debut AutoSynapse, our new software for automated synapse detection. Our programmers worked closely with several customers to create the new software, and we’re eager to show everyone its amazing detection and analysis features. Our research poster “Automated detection and analysis of putative synapses,” (710.13/FFF27) offers an excellent demonstration on an application of AutoSynapse in a scientific study. Staff Scientist Dr. Julie Simpson presents the poster Tuesday, October 16, at 1 pm.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you at Booth #1741 for personalized demonstrations of all of our new products including Neurolucida 11, Stereo Investigator 11, WormLab 2 (which includes a version for Mac users), Biolucida Cloud 2.0 (with new 3D visualization capabilities and annotations), Microlucida 2.5, AutoNeuron 5.5, and AutoSpine 1.5.

Neuroscience 2012 takes place October 13 – 17. You can access the full program on the Society for Neuroscience‘s website.

See you in New Orleans!

We’re Kicking off a Year of Celebrations in Honor of the Computer Microscope’s 50th Anniversary

In the early 1960s, our company co-founder Dr. Edmund Glaser and his long time collaborator and friend Dr. Hendrik Van der Loos made some sketches on a paper tablecloth in the faculty dining room at John Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore Maryland. That early diagram of a microscope included novel elements like transducers and a mechanical stage, and gave shape to their ideas about a faster way to conduct neuroanatomical research. It also laid the foundation for what was to become the first Semi-Automatic Computer-Microscope.

Next year marks fifty years since the invention of that revolutionary tool – a technologically advanced microscope, which sped up quantitative analysis, gave researchers the ability to create three-dimensional morphologies of neurons, and led to the development of some of MBF Bioscience’s most in-demand products, Neurolucida, Stereo Investigator, and Microlucida.

In honor of the occasion, we’re kicking off a year of celebrations starting next week at Neuroscience 2012. We’ll also be publishing photographs, slides, and stories about the microscope’s history throughout the year on our blog. We hope you’ll follow along, and join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Semi-Automatic Computer-Microscope.

{The image shows one of the early neuron tracings done on the Semi-Automatic Computer-Microscope alongside a recent reconstruction of a neuron done with Neurolucida. Click on the image for a larger view.}

Announcing AutoSynapse: Our New Software For Synapse Analysis Debuts at Neuroscience 2012

We’re about to launch a new tool that will help scientists studying the brain perform their research faster. The new software, called AutoSynapse automatically detects and analyzes pre-synaptic markers such as synaptophysin and post-synaptic markers such as PSD95, then uses nearby dendrites traced with AutoNeuron or Neurolucida to analyze which of those synaptic markers are associated with particular dendrites.

Up until now, this method for analyzing synapses could only be done manually with Neurolucida, but AutoSynapse provides a new type of automated analysis that is not available with any other software.

“AutoSynapse solves a unique and important analysis need of many neuroscientists,” says MBF Bioscience President Jack Glaser. “it automatically detects and quantifies the number of putative synapses on specific dendrites. We developed this tool in conjunction with several of our users. We are especially grateful to Dr. Francisco Alvarez and Travis Rotterman at Emory University.”

This work was supported  by a SBIR grant awarded from the NIMH. NIH Grant MH072063.

Visit our booth at Neuroscience 2012, October 13 – 17, in New Orleans to see AutoSynapse in action. And visit our research poster presentation 710.13/FFF27, Automated detection and analysis of putative synapses, Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM.

Dr. Henry Markram’s Team Uses Neurolucida in New Blue Brain Study

Blue Brain Project researchers have hit an important milestone in their quest to create a virtual model of the human brain. They figured out how to accurately predict the location of synapses in the neocortex; and Neurolucida played an important part.

In a paper published last week in PNAS, the research team led by Dr. Henry Markram at the Brain Mind Institute at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Lausanne, Switzerland, demonstrated that neurons grow independently of each other, forming connections in places where they accidentally collide. In other words, i is not chemicals that guide axons and dendrites along their path to form synapses.

“Neurons are growing as physically independent of each other as possible. They’re just expressing themselves, saying ‘I want this shape, this is my shape. I’m going to grow like this,’ and when they’ve all grown together, they just take what they get when they bump into each other. It’s just going to grow and rely on accidental collisions to decide where it’s going to form synapses. It’s a remarkable design principle of the brain,” Dr. Markram told EPFL News.

To achieve these results, the researchers used Neurolucida to create 3D models of neurons and form a virtual reconstruction of a cortical microcircuit. They analyzed the places where connections occurred, and found their model to be remarkably similar to the real-brain sample.

Read our previous article about the Blue Brain Project, as well as the research team’s latest paper:

S.L. Hill, Y. Wang, I. Riachi, F. Schürmann, H. Markram: Statistical connectivity provides a sufficient foundation for specific functional connectivity in neocortical neural microcircuits, PNAS, Published online before print September 18, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1202128109

John Hopkins University Scientists Quantify Neurons with Stereo Investigator


Rats lose brain cells as they get older. But that doesn’t mean they can’t find their way through a water maze as quickly as their younger cohorts can.

Using unbiased stereology to quantify neurons in the prefrontal cortex of young and old rats, scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore found the total neuron number in the dorsal prefrontal cortex (dPFC) decreases with age. But despite the lost neurons, not all of the aged rats showed spatial learning impairment.

Led by Dr. Alexis Stranahan, the researcher team used Stereo Investigator with the Optical Fractionator to quantify total neuron number and the number of interneurons positively stained with antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) in both the dorsal and ventral prefrontal cortex. They also used Stereo Investigator to outline cytoarchitectural boundaries in these regions of the rat brain.

To measure the efficiency of the rats’ spatial memory, the researchers used the Morris Water Maze. Trained to find a target platform while swimming in a pool of water, the rats were rated on their speed, distance traveled, and the time they spent in each area of the pool.

Their stereological analysis only revealed neuron count changes in the dPFC. No changes were observed in the vPFC; “and age-related neuronal loss was not associated with spatial memory performance,” the authors state in their paper, which was published online last February in the Journal of Comparative Neurology and will appear in the April 15 issue.

“We believe that when these data are taken together with the current observation that both aged-impaired and aged-unimpaired rats exhibit decreased neuron number in the dorsal prefrontal region, to the extent that such neuron loss is detrimental in this behavioral model, some compensatory mechanisms might be recruited to maintain the performance of unimpaired rats,” according to the study.

Read the full paper here.



Stranahan, A. M., N. T. Jiam, A. M. Spiegel and M. Gallagher (2012).
“Aging reduces total neuron number in the dorsal component of the rodent prefrontal cortex.”
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 520(6): 1318-1326.

MBF Bioscience Receives Local Community Service Award

We were honored to receive the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf’s 16th Annual Ben Blood Anti-Hunger Award last week.

For over ten years MBF Bioscience has supported the organization, which provides fresh produce, bread, and groceries to Vermont families in need. “I have seen how beneficial the food shelf’s work is,” said MBF Bioscience President Jack Glaser. “They provide a really important service to people who are less fortunate than we are, and I believe that it is a responsibility of businesses to support their local community.”

The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf serves over 12,000 people every year, making them “the largest direct service emergency food provider in Vermont.

“It was a very generous act of the food shelf to acknowledge us. In light of all of the great work that they do, they are the ones who should be receiving awards, rather than giving them out,” said Glaser.

To learn more about the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf go to www.feedingchittenden.org.