Perimeter Institute: Nanotechnology meets neuroscience and medicine

Meet a neuroscientist and a nanoscientist who argue that working together across disciplines could be the best way to solve medical mysteries
By Daniel Kitts - Published on April 30, 2019
Artist's impression of a synapse.
Scientists are still struggling to fully understand the inner workings of synapses and other parts of the brain. (Perimeter Institute)

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There was a time when medicine seemed to regularly churn out miracles: insulin turned diabetes from a death sentence into a manageable condition; antibiotics turned once-deadly infections into minor annoyances that could be dealt with through a trip to the drugstore.

But even though ground-breaking research is being carried out every day, miracles seem harder to come by now. Doctors struggle to effectively treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and depression, despite decades of study.

In a public lecture at Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute on Wednesday at 7 p.m., two scientists made the case that the next series of medical breakthroughs may come through close collaboration between researchers in very different scientific disciplines.

Anne M. Andrews is a neuroscientist who studies chemical signalling in the brain. Paul S. Weiss is a researcher in nanoscience, a field that may someday develop complex tools much smaller than the head of a pin. They discussed how they’re using nanotechnology to tackle big questions in neuroscience.

If you missed the lecture, you can watch a replay of it:

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TVO.org is streaming the Perimeter Institute’s entire 2018-19 public lecture series.

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