Poultry Science graduate student wins research award for 3D technology in bird visual pathways

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Parker Strait, a poultry science graduate student, recently presented her research at the Annual Meeting of the Poultry Science Society in San Antonio, Texas, where she received the Outstanding Oral Presentation Award in Physiology and Reproduction at the conference. was awarded.

The neural pathways in a bird’s brain can be so complex that poultry scientists at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station have turned to 3D imaging technology for research and education.

The Agricultural Experiment Station is a research arm of the University of Arkansas Department of Agricultural Systems.

Parker Straight, a poultry science graduate student at the Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food, and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, recently spoke at the Poultry Science Society Annual Meeting in Sun, in the areas of physiology and reproduction. Received the best oral presentation award. Antonio, Texas.

Straight and his research team wanted to model the primary visual pathway in chickens, the tectofugal pathway.

Two-dimensional visuals can only provide information about one anatomical plane in an organism’s brain. Three-dimensional techniques are essential for visualizing the complete set of structures, their connectivity and function. Straight’s team used histochemistry and diffusive iodine-based contrast-enhanced CT (diceCT) with data reconstruction programs such as Brainmaker, Avizo, and Blender to create 3D interactive models.

“In histochemistry, chemical reagents such as dyes are used to stain tissue to allow for image analysis,” says Straight. “DiceCT, he says, is very similar to MRI, but it uses iodine to stain tissue, so it can draw groups of cells from fiber tracts. is imaged by “digitally” slicing the ”

The iodine used in diceCT is non-permanent and can be removed from the sample tissue without damaging or distorting the tissue. This is important for the integrity of 3-D imaging.

“The beauty of the techniques we are using is that they are reversible and non-destructive, allowing us to obtain more precise spatial and structural data of the components of the nervous system,” said Straight. . “To achieve high precision in relative position, volume, linear dimensions, connectivity, etc., it is important to maintain the original, natural structuring of the brain.”

“What these methods can do is allow the generation of complex models that can be used in both research and teaching,” says Straight. “It enables students and field people to learn complex pathways in a more effective way.”

Straight’s research can be applied to a variety of scenarios, he said.

“It’s important to show the application of the technology I’m using because ideally it can be used for other nervous systems in birds and other vertebrates,” Straight said.

Straight also presented his work at the International Symposium on Avian Endocrinology in Edinburgh, Scotland. There, for his poster presentation, he was named runner-up for the Early Career Researcher Award. The two awards were determined by the highest number of votes cast by all delegates present at the conference and voting at the end of the poster session.

“I was overwhelmed by the satisfaction and validation of the work I had done, and felt fulfilled knowing that the research I was doing was meaningful,” Straight said.

Straight’s research team included Wayne Kuenzel, professor of physiology and neuroendocrinology at the Center for Poultry Science, and Paul Gignac, associate professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of Arizona. Funding for this project was provided by a Rector’s grant awarded to Kuenzel and Gignac. Additional funding was provided by a grant from the Arkansas State Institute of Biological Sciences to his Kuenzel.

For more information about the Agricultural Research Division, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website at aaes.uada.edu. Follow @ArkAgResearch on Twitter.

For more information on the agriculture sector, visit uada.edu. Follow @AgInArk on Twitter.

About the agricultural sector: The mission of the University of Arkansas Systems Agriculture Division is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by linking sound research with the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and Joint Extension Service, the agricultural sector conducts research and extension work within the country’s historic land grant education system. The Department of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas system. It has offices in all 75 Arkansas counties and faculties on five system campuses. The University of Arkansas School of Agriculture recognizes race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or other legally protected status. and is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.