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Scientists get time on a telescope for the brain

Jerome Lecoq in lab
Jerome Lecoq, senior manager of optical physiology at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, sets up a microscope in the Allen Brain Observatory. The observatory is run by a team of nearly 100 engineers, scientists and technicians. (Allen Institute Photo)

OpenScope is open for business.

The Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science has taken a page from the playbook for the Hubble Space Telescope to create its latest channel for open-access neuroscience.

Like Hubble’s handlers, the institute is taking requests from researchers for access to its experimental platform for observing neural activity in mice.

Leaders of the project went so far as to consult with leaders in the astronomy community, particularly at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, to learn how they divvy up telescope time.

“We seek to do the same in neuroscience, where we now have a brain-based observatory,” Christof Koch, the Allen Institute’s chief scientist and president, said today in a news release.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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