In The Lab


Brain Backups is developing an imaging solution for Parkinson’s Disease: AptaMark

AptaMark uses aptamer technology to image the brain at the one micron scale: 1000X better than today’s best MRIs. This enables us to image hard to identify proteins such as alpha-synuclein, as well as observe the loss of dopaminergic neurons from the substantia nigra. AptaMark can track neurodegeneration without the use of radioactive agents.

Current Parkinson’s diagnostics are inaccurate and heavily subjective. Advised by leading scientists in the field of motion disorders, AptaMark will be the market’s first objective diagnostic solution.



The Connectome

“The connectome is essentially the genome of the brain.”
Russell Hanson, Founder

The genome, which contains all of the genetic information of an organism, has come to inform the way human beings understand themselves. Similarly, our perceptions, thoughts, and emotions are a result of trillions of chemical interactions happening every second across the brain.

Every human brain contains a hundred billion neurons, which communicate by transmitting chemicals called neurotransmitters across synapses. At Brain Backups, we are developing a way to map the connections between synapses, in order to reveal a larger web of neuronal connections — the connectome. Much like the mapping of the genome, mapping the connectome will allow us to:

•Make leaps in the study of neurodegenerative diseases.
•Gain insights into the inner workings of human memory.
•Develop truly personalized medicine, and personalized connectome mapping.

The human genome can be sequenced for a few thousand dollars. Now it’s time for the connectome.

Our Method
Brain Backups is the first company to develop nondestructive, noninvasive high definition whole brain imaging techniques that do not require the death of the animal.

Scanning Electron Microscopes, the traditional method used for connectome mapping, requires the brain to be sliced into incredibly thin pieces, and imaged one at a time.

The scientists at Brain Backups use small chains of DNA called aptamers , which can identify individual molecules. By using Gold Nanoparticles, we can image these molecules at a 1 micron scale. That’s 1000x better than today’s best MRIs.

Aptamark for Parkinson’s
Brain Backups is developing a Parkinson’s diagnostic that is more accurate than anything else on the market. By targeting dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra with our aptamer based contrast agent, we will be able to track neurodegeneration as it happens.

The Brain Backup
The more we learn about the brain, the better we come to understand our memories, our experiences, and our health. Imaging discovering how the intricate wiring of the human brain connects. Imagine duplicating it.

By mapping the human connectome, we can track how it changes as the brain learns. With our 1 micron scale imaging technology, we’ve already made the first step towards a Brain Backup.

Our calculations (below) indicate that the entire connectome can be stored on about 500TB of hard drive space with compression.

100,000,000,000 neurons * 10,000 synapses = 1,000,000,000,000,000
1 terabyte = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes
1,000,000,000,000,000/1,099,511,627,776 = 909.49 terabytes
1 terabyte hard drive = ~$90 –> storage for all human neurons and synapses ~$90 * 909.49 = ~$81,854

With 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections the total cost of the data and metadata storage is around $80,000. With the rapidly falling price of computer and hard drive storage, the price of buying the storage necessary to back up the neuronal and synaptic connections in the brain is coming into reach of regular U.S. consumers with the appropriate financing.