Optical Integrators for Monitoring Activity in Circuits and Cells

2014 Seed Grant
Evan Miller, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley

Optical imaging has been a fantastically powerful tool for studying the activity of neurons in functional circuits. However, current tools are based on a reversible sensing approach that restricts neurobiologists to measuring activity during a very small temporal window. This restricts two types of experiments 1) it limits the ability to track activity across large regions of the brain, because generating an image of millions of neurons in three dimensions within several hundred milliseconds is technically difficult, and 2) it restricts interrogation of dynamic patterns of activity to live-cell imaging techniques such as fluorescence microscopy. For higher resolution studies, one would like to employ techniques such as super resolution light microscopy or electron microscopy, which are not amenable to live-cell imaging. We aim to develop molecular tools to enable the dissection of functionally connected networks of neurons at high spatial and temporal resolution.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The Role of Microglial Lysosomes in Selective Neuronal Vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the Nervous System Constructs Internal Models of the External World
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the Orchestra of Movement—Functional Role of Striatal Astrocytes in Health and Disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…