James alerted me to the awesomeness that is This-to-That, a website devoted to providing advice on how to glue one thing to another thing. Gluing metal to wood is one thing…gluing a crayfish to the inside of a plastic tube is another…

We’re currently racing to be the first lab in the world to do fMRI studies with crayfish. (Admittedly, we may be the only ones running this race.) Crayfish, as you probably don’t know, are a great, easy-to-use model animal for asking and answering questions relevant to the basic functioning of all vertebrate nervous systems, so by answering my question you will be indirectly benefiting all humankind.

What we need to do is glue the carapace of live adult crayfish to the inside of a plastic Nalgene centrifuge tube, which will then be placed inside a tiny (3.7cm) custom-made fMRI coil. We have to glue them in because if the animal moves at all, the image will be blurred. We might also be gluing the animals’ eyestalks in place because if they move, the brain moves.

Here’s the catch: because adult crayfish of the biggest size are difficult to grow, expensive to obtain, and rather endearing once you get to know them, we’d like to be able to dissolve the glue once we’re done so that the crayfish can be re-used, go on living their little crayfish lives, etc. So we need a glue that dries fast, won’t dissolve in water, is relatively nontoxic, and can be dissolved by a relatively nontoxic solvent. Any ideas?

Edwards’ Lab
Georgia State University

Read their answer here


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