Stanford Scientist Among 'Brilliant 10'

For Creating A Microscope That 'Reads Minds'

KGO By Karina Rusk

- Every year, Popular Science magazine comes out with a report on ten young scientists who could change the world.

This year, only one is from California, and he's doing his work in medical imagining at Stanford University.

Whether he's at the computer or in his lab at Stanford University, research scientist Mark Schnitzer is on the cutting edge of looking deep within the brain.

"What we're doing, really, is using some of these advances in optics to be able to image cells," said Schnitzer, Ph.D.

Images of singular blood cells, as they make their way through capularies, showcase activity that could unlock the mysteries of behavior and a variety of brain diseases.

The unique images itself demanded innovation. So Schnitzer Labs came up with an advanced solution.

The microscope is paired with another invention.

At the tip is a pair of lenses that can pierce deep brain tissue.

"These tiny lens that we use to image deep in tissues, into the areas that have never been explored before," said Wibool Piyawattanametha, Ph.D., research scientist.

The work has captured the attention of Popular Science.

The magazine's November issue named Schnitzer on its list of brilliant ten.

Editors called Schnitzer the "mind reader," but he says any recognition needs to be shared.

"The set of collaborators, the set of students, and post docs we have, have all been instrumental in the research," said Schnitzer.

Ultimately, the teams' deep look at blood flow in the brain could result in medical breakthroughs.

"It might be applicable to studies of memory. It might be applicable to models of disease of various kinds and obviously many different kinds of brain disease afflict tissues in the brain that are deep below the surface," said Schnitzer.

Even a humble Mark Schnitzer knows he holds a powerful tool in the palm of his hand.

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