The key to some important research, at the University of Calgary, is a tank full of common snails.

Wali Zaidi has 20 years of experience cultivating snails, removing their tiny brains, and isolating individual cells.

Zaidi’s job is proving crucial to unlocking the secrets of how brain cells communicate.

The researchers are focusing on developing a neurochip with the ability to monitor several functions of the brain.

The new breakthrough is the direct imaging of brain activity. 

“We’re coming to the stage now where thousands of neurons or brain cells can be recorded.  And once you can record it, now I think the sky’s the limit.  So anything you thought was the future is actually here now,” says Naweed Sayed who is one of the researchers.

The next step in the research is to start working on human brain cells.

The hope is one day this research will help others find cures for conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, and epilepsy.