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  • Two alternatives to the nitrogen purge for the hydrogel

    I attended the CLARITY workshop, and while there, Kristin mentioned that someone was using Peanut oil on top of the hydrogel solution, or filling the tube to the top, to prevent oxygen from inhibiting the polymerization. These sounded like good alternatives to the nitrogen purge. The main problem with filling a 50 ml conical tube to the top with hydrogel, is the waste of reagent.
    The first thing I tried was transferring the brains to 15 ml conical tubes and filling them all the way up to the tippy-top before closing the tube and placing in a 37 degree water bath. This worked great!! It isn't too hard to remove the mouse brains from the 15 ml conical, and it uses less hydrogel. I did have to use a metal spatula to get it lose, but it was fine. I also recently tried adding sunflower oil to the top. I didn't have peanut oil, but I did have sunflower oil on hand, it also worked great! This saves the space and cost of nitrogen tanks, vacuum pumps and desiccator. Definitely a big thumbs up.
  • 3D printed ETC chamber

    We modeled the Nalgene chamber setup and designed an ETC chamber that can be 3D printed. Two sets of vertical grooves were added to hold the electrodes in place. There is also a groove for fitting an Oring. The design can be downloaded from We use a Makerbot Replicator 2 and it prints well. Test units are available for those who don't have a 3D printer (yet), but only the first three requests will be honored due to our limited capacity. Please leave your request in the comments area. Thanks.