MBF Bioscience and the Journal of Neuroscience Research to award NeuroArt contest winners with placement on the journal’s covers

Diversity of Enteric Glial Cells – April NeuroArt Juror’s Choice Winner
Marissa Puzan, Boston University

MBF Bioscience and the Journal of Neuroscience Research announced today that beginning this month, the Juror’s Choice winner in the NeuroArt image contest will be featured on the cover of the Journal of Neuroscience Research. Winners also have the opportunity to publish an editorial article or a research paper in the journal. A Juror’s Choice Award winner is chosen each month by an interdisciplinary panel of neuroscientists and artists.

“Partnering with the Journal of Neuroscience Research to offer this award fits perfectly with the mission of NeuroArt, which is to recognize and foster appreciation for the visual beauty and the aesthetic qualities of Neuroscience,” said Jack Glaser, President of MBF Bioscience.

The NeuroArt image contest is a creative outlet where neuroscientists and neuroscience enthusiasts can share their views of the brain and learn from each other  ̶  a sentiment that resonated with Dr. Eric Prager, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuroscience Research. “It seemed timely to feature these images on the cover of Journal of Neuroscience Research as the journal enters an era focusing on transparency in research,” said Dr. Prager. “The works of art will provide artistic interpretations and representations of neuroscience and the brain, which we, the audience, can internalize and interpret from our own perspectives. In research, we also strive for each article to provide the elements necessary for other researchers to reexamine from their own perspectives. It was a natural fit.”

Even if you don’t have an image to submit to the contest, you can still participate by voting for your favorite image. The image with the most votes at the end of the month wins the People’s Choice Award and $250 towards the purchase of MBF Bioscience products.

To enter this month’s contest, or vote for an image, go to neuroart.com

Over 80 images have been submitted to the contest since it started February 1, 2017, and there have been 12 winning images. Here’s what some NeuroArt participants have to say about the contest:

“It’s a great opportunity to share some very interesting images I’ve taken.”

“Fun, creative outlet and a place to share images with colleagues.”

“I learned something new about neuroscience. I saw something that I did not expect to be beautiful in an image.”

MBF Bioscience Unveils Redesigned Interface for Neurolucida and Stereo Investigator version 2017

Neuroscientists can now analyze the size and complexity of neurons and collect unbiased stereology data with greater speed and efficiency

We are happy to announce the release of Neurolucida and Stereo Investigator version 2017. This version features a completely revamped user interface that’s intuitive and easy to navigate.

“Neurolucida and Stereo Investigator version 2017 are completely redesigned to improve the user experience and increase productivity,” said Jack Glaser, President of MBF Bioscience. “The new interface makes collecting accurate data much quicker and easier.”

Version 2017 has many new performance features in addition to the new user interface. It handles large image data more efficiently, gives users the ability to dynamically edit digital reconstructions in an interactive 3D environment, and much more. Neurolucida users will also see many improvements to Neurolucida Explorer – the companion software to Neurolucida that performs all the quantitative analyses generated from neurons that are digitally reconstructed with Neurolucida.

Highlights of Stereo Investigator and Neurolucida version 2017 include:

  • Easier Navigation – The ribbon bar design is task-oriented to make it easy to find what you need. A dynamic search bar and a quick access toolbar also aid productivity.
  • Improved Organization – Frequently used tools are prominent and easy to access. Tools are grouped by their function, and advanced settings are easily accessible.
  • Cleaner and simpler – The new user interface is modern and intuitive, making it easier to learn and to train new lab members.
  • Support for the latest technological advancements in microscopic imaging devices and computer hardware.

See version 2017 in action

MBF Bioscience will exhibit and demo Neurolucida and Stereo Investigator version 2017 at the annual Experimental Biology meeting April 23 – 25 in Chicago, Illinois.

Get a quick overview of the new user interface in these 2-minute videos:

Register for the upcoming webinar “Using the Optical Fractionator Probe to Estimate Number of Cells”

Exercise changes astrocytes and eases symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders

Astrocytes (GFAP) in the dentate gyrus of a mouse hippocampus. Image courtesy of Dr. Ahmad Salehi, Stanford University. 

It is well known that physical exercise eases the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and helps to prevent their onset. Researchers at Stanford University are working on figuring out how it happens.

In their study, published in the journal Brain Structure and Function, scientists in Dr. Ahmad Salehi’s lab examined the effects of physical exercise on astrocytes in a region of the mouse brain that is critical for cognition – the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Previous studies have shown that an increase in the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) occurs in this region after exercise (Philips, Salehi et al 2014). Bdnf is a protein that supports the survival of existing neurons and encourages new growth, playing an important role in cognitive function.

While the current study reconfirms that exercise generates increased levels of Bdnf (more than a fourfold increase in exercised mice versus non-exercised mice), it also describes several new findings including increased synaptic load in the dentate gyrus, alterations in the morphology of astrocytes, and changes in the orientation of astrocytic projections toward dentate granule cells.

The authors speculate that the changes they observed may be attributed to increased expression of a receptor called TrkB, which astrocytes express in response to increases in Bdnf levels. According to the paper, TrkB binds to Bdnf, activating the mechanisms behind neuronal development.

“Our study suggests that astrocytes actively respond and could indeed mediate the positive effects of physical exercise on the central nervous system and potentially counter degenerative processes during aging and neurodegenerative disorders,” (Fahimi, et al 2016).

The researchers used Neurolucida to determine the location, the extent, and orientation of astrocytic projections, finding a significant increase in the length of astrocytic projections in exercised mice.

Neurolucida is one of the very few systems that combines complex morphometrical quantification with beautiful display of the results,” said Dr. Salehi, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford Medical School.

Since astrocytes help prevent excitotoxicity in the brain by removing excess glutamate from extracellular space, the researchers speculate that the increased length of astrocytic projections they observed in exercised mice could make this process more efficient.

Differences in the orientation of astrocytic projections were also reported, with the majority of projections of exercised mice directed toward the dentate granule cell layer – a region featuring increased levels of Bdnf release and synthesis after exercise.

The number of astrocytes in the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus in exercised and non-exercised mice was quantified with Stereo Investigator, however, there was no significant difference in astrocyte populations between the two groups.

“In summary, our study suggests that astrocytes constitute an important element in mediating the positive effects of physical exercise in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Furthermore, it appears that physical exercise-induced release of Bdnf by the DG leads to a significant alteration in structure and function of astrocytes in protection against glutamate toxicity during aging and a number of neurodegenerative disorders,” (Fahimi et al 2016)

Fahimi, A., Baktir, M.A., Moghadam, S., Mojabi, F.S., Sumanth, K., McNerney, M.W., Ponnusamy, R., Salehi, A. Brain Struct Funct (2016). doi:10.1007/s00429-016-1308-8

Phillips, C., Baktir, M.A., Srivatsam, M., Salehi, A. Front. Cell. Neurosci., (2014) https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2014.00170

NeuroArt Image Contest Celebrates the Beauty of the Brain

MBF Bioscience is sponsoring a new image contest that encourages scientists and artists to share their views of the brain

Williston, VT— The NeuroArt image contest brings together scientists, artists, and neuroscience enthusiasts from around the world to share their view of the brain. Any image of the brain is accepted, including but not limited to microscope images, pencil drawings, and paintings.

Eligible contestants can visit neuroart.com/image-contest to submit images. Entries will be submitted through the NeuroArt website where people can vote on images. You can also vote for your favorite entry even if you don’t submit an image.

“The NeuroArt image contest is a way to recognize and foster an appreciation for the artistic aspect of neuroscience,” said Jack Glaser, President of MBF Bioscience. “The diverse entries make for an interesting collection of images celebrating the beauty of the brain.”

There is a new contest each month with two winners per month. Judging consists of two rounds of evaluation. Round one is peer-reviewed: the five images with the highest number of votes proceed to round two. In round two, a judging panel consisting of neuroscientists and artists choose the two winners. First place wins $250 towards the purchase of MBF Bioscience products and second place wins $100 towards the purchase of MBF Bioscience products. The judging panel will choose the annual grand prize winners from the monthly winners. The three Grand prize winners receive $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 towards the purchase of MBF Bioscience products, respectively.

For more information, visit neuroart.com or watch this short video.

Neurolucida 360 v2.7: A minor release with major new features

algorithm 123.jpg-1

The 3 algorithms in Neurolucida 360 were used in combination
to create a smooth, accurate reconstruction

Minor releases typically don’t include new features, but Neurolucida 360 isn’t an ordinary piece of software. Neurolucida 360 v2.7 has many new features and improvements including:

  • A new automatic tracing algorithm – Rayburst Crawl
  • Capture videos of your rotating neuron reconstructions for presentations and publications
  • New backbone length analysis for dendritic spines
  • Improved handling of images exceeding 10GB

With the addition of Rayburst Crawl, Neurolucida 360 now has 3 different algorithms for automatic neuron reconstruction. Why 3 algorithms? To give you the power to choose the one that works best with your images. Labeling specificity, staining intensity, and image signal-to-noise can vary widely within a specimen – making it impossible for a single tracing algorithm to work optimally in all situations.

If you want more control over your neuron reconstructions, the same 3 algorithms can be used in user-guided mode. You follow a dendritic branch or axon with your mouse cursor and the algorithm finds the center and thickness of the process. It combines the unrivaled human ability to identify and segment objects with the speed of a computer.

Try it for yourself.

Request a free trial to see the algorithms in action

Or, if you are a customer with an up to date support subscription, download version 2.7


MBF Bioscience to Open European Headquarters in the Netherlands

Mbf Bioscience Europe

MBF Bioscience announced today that it will open a European Sales and Support office in Delft, the Netherlands. Masha Stern, who has been the Manager of Technical Support and Training at MBF Bioscience headquarters in Vermont for 11 years, will become the Managing Director of MBF Europe. The new office is scheduled to open September 2016.

“Our new European Office is a result of the continually increasing demand for our products in Europe,” says Jack Glaser, President of MBF Bioscience. “Our new office in the Netherlands will allow us to better serve our growing customer base in Europe. Masha Stern’s long-term experience in managing and supporting our products will provide our European customers with a source of significant expertise and dedicated support and sales information for our products.”

“I’m very excited to lead our European operations and to represent our award-winning technology in Europe,” said Masha.

Delft is home to the prestigious Delft University of Technology and is the birthplace of Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek, the “Father of Microbiology” and developer of high-quality, high magnification microscope lenses.

Contact Masha at MBF Bioscience Europe: masha@mbfbioscience.com.


About MBF Bioscience

MBF Bioscience helps life science researchers collect accurate, reliable data from tissue specimens. Founded in 1987 by the current president, Jack Glaser, and his father, Edmund Glaser, MBF Bioscience systems are used in over 1,000 labs worldwide and have been cited in more than 10,000 research papers. MBF Bioscience received a Tibbetts award from the U.S. Small Business Association in recognition of their contributions to technological innovation and service to federal research and development.

MBF Bioscience Awarded Two Patents in 2016


We continue our history of innovation and invention as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awards us two patents. The first is for WormLab – our unique worm tracking software that gives researchers an enormous amount of behavioral data about a single worm or multiple worms, even as they go through omega bends, reversals, and entanglements. The second is for our radial shock wave technology that improves antibody penetration and reduces the time for antibody incubation and fixation periods.

WormLab is commercially available, while our shock wave technology is in development.

+ Learn more about WormLab

+ Read the WormLab patent

Read the shock wave patent

Dr. Robert Ogilvie to Receive the Henry Gray Distinguished Educator Award

Dr. Ogilvie PhotoAspiring medical doctors and life science researchers in the U.S. learn histology to understand the cellular organization of tissues and organs. In the past, microscopes were the only equipment available for viewing cells and other microscopic structures in tissue specimens. Now, more and more students are learning histology with virtual microscope slides – high-resolution digital images of tissue specimens that can be viewed on a computer over the Internet.

Dr. Robert Ogilvie has been teaching histology with virtual slides for over 15 years. He is a pioneer in the field of virtual microscopy; striving to make learning histology more active and accessible to the next generation of doctors and  researchers.

Dr. Ogilvie has won numerous teaching awards throughout his 45 year teaching career, including the most recent one – the 2016 Henry Gray Distinguished Educator Award which is the American Association of Anatomists’ highest education award. He will accept the award on Tuesday, April 5 at the 129th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Anatomists that is meeting at the same time as many other societies as a part of the Experimental Biology Meeting (EB2016) in San Diego, CA. After accepting the award he will present a lecture titled ‘On the Way to Virtual’ where he will discuss his experiences using virtual microscopy to teach histology. The talk will culminate with an example of a fully online histology course he teaches using Biolucida, Blackboard, and WebMic – a virtual microscopy program he helped develop. Enrollment doubled when the course was offered online, and it remains popular for students from a wide range of majors.

Watch a six minute video that illustrates and describes the essential components of the online histology course offered by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina

Watch this 3 minute video of Dr. Ogilvie teaching histology with virtual slides and Biolucida


The U.S. Small Business Administration Publishes MBF Bioscience Success Story


The U.S. Small Business Administration recently published a success story about MBF Bioscience. The article highlights our success using federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to develop innovative products that help advance science. MBF Bioscience has a distinguished R&D program that develops cutting-edge tools for scientific research.

The SBIR grants have helped MBF Bioscience develop tools such as Neurolucida, the most widely used system for neuron reconstruction and analysis, and Stereo Investigator, the gold standard for quantifying the number, area, and volume of neurons. MBF Bioscience has grown significantly since it was awarded its first SBIR grant in 1987. It is now a global company helping scientists around the world discover new information about the brain. The full success story written about MBF Bioscience can be found here.

New Software Released for Automated Neuron Reconstruction and Analysis

montage for email invitationHow the brain works and how the brain is affected by disease are mysteries in large part because neurons are so dynamic, numerous, and complex. Neurolucida 360, a revolutionary, new software product from MBF Bioscience, enables neuroscientists to uncover more information about neurons at a faster rate.

“Neurolucida 360 is a technological revolution” says Jack Glaser, President of MBF Bioscience. “It is the state-of-the-art tool for neuroscientists to analyze the shape and connectivity of neurons more quickly and accurately than has ever been possible, so that we can better understand the brain and the mechanisms behind diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. With the unique ability to automatically detect and analyze dendrites, dendritic spines, axons, somas, and synapses, Neurolucida 360 is now the standardized platform for the global neuroscience research community to perform unprecedented investigations into the functioning of the brain.”

Using automated tools in Neurolucida 360, researchers generate high-resolution, digital 3D reconstructions of neurons imaged with numerous microscopy techniques, including light sheet, 2 photon, confocal and brightfield. Using the most advanced algorithms for neuron reconstruction, researchers instantly receive hundreds of analyses about the size, shape, and complexity of neurons. The reliable data from Neurolucida 360 is integral to learning how injury, disease, or chemicals change neuronal structure, discovering how neuronal structure affects function, finding out which brain regions neurons communicate with, and more.

The National Institute of Mental Health provides funding to support the development of Neurolucida 360. It is the latest development in the renowned legacy of neuron tracing tools that started with Neurolucida – the most widely cited tool for neuron reconstruction and analysis.

For more information on Neurolucida 360, please visit our website or watch this short video.