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.