In this week’s Dr Rachie Reports for the Zone #60, I interview Dr Adam Hamlin from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland about his work in neurodegeneration, especially Alzheimer’s disease.

During the segment, Adam shows me around the microscope room where we talk about the beautiful pictures he takes of brain slices using fluorescent imaging techniques.

Using mice as a model for Alzheimer’s disease, Adam can monitor the effect of a protein knows as beta-amyloid on the function of the brain. The technique he uses is called histology, which involves the removal of the brains, fixing them in wax or formaldehyde and then slicing them very finely with a very sharp blade contained in a machine called a “microtome”. Adam can then examine certain parts of the brain by staining or “decorating” them with antibodies which show up in different colours (you will see what I mean by decorate if you look below). The antibodies recognise specific proteins in the brain and allow him to monitor how treatment with drugs can modify the health of the brain.

Well like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here with permission is a selection of Adam’s histology reproduced for you to enjoy.

If you would like to know more about any of the work shown here, please feel free to email Adam at a.hamlin [at] with your questions. Click on the images for a larger view.

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