Tissue Clearing and 3D Lightsheet Imaging of Neural Circuits in the Intact and Injured Spinal Cord

Dr. Dylan McCreedy

Texas A&M University

Dr. Dylan McCreedy received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. He did his postdoctoral research at Northwestern University, University of Michigan, University of California – San Francisco, and the Gladstone Institutes. Dr. McCreedy joined the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University in 2019 as an Assistant Professor and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is a TIRR Foundation Faculty Fellow and a Scialog Fellow. His lab’s research focuses on the mechanisms of acute inflammatory damage following spinal cord injury and the development of three-dimensional imaging techniques to assess neural circuits, inflammation, and secondary tissue damage in the injured spinal cord.


Tissue clearing and 3D lightsheet imaging have enabled detailed interrogation of neural circuits in the brain, however, corresponding studies in the spinal cord have been more limited. We have optimized aqueous- and organic solvent-based tissue clearing protocols, which has enabled high-resolution imaging of the full spinal cord using lightsheet microscopy. Molecularly-defined neuronal subsets can then be readily visualized in the cleared spinal cord using multiple fluorescent labeling and reporter systems. We are currently developing high-throughput image analysis methods to generate a 3D map of neural circuits in the intact spinal cord and to characterize damage that occurs following spinal cord injury. The knowledge gained from these studies will advance our understanding of motor and sensory systems in the spinal cord and provide critical insight into repair strategies to restore function lost due to injury.