The Novel Neurotechnologies: simultaneous 3D all-optical imaging and activation of neurons in living brains (video)

Rafael Yuste, MD. PhD., Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University

The function of neural circuits is an emergent property that arises from the coordinated activity of large numbers of neurons. To capture this, we proposed launching a large-scale, international public effort, the Brain Activity Map Project, aimed at reconstructing the full record of neural activity across complete neural circuits. This project was the origin of the White House's BRAIN initiative. As our contribution to this initiative, I will review our efforts developing optical methods to perform two-photon imaging and photostimulation of neuronal populations using spatial light modulators, PSF engineering and a variety of optical, optogenetic and optochemical sensors. These techniques have single cell resolution and enable online experiments on populations of neurons, such as detecting spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activity in primary visual cortex from awake behaving mice and optically interfering with them. These novel neurotechnologies could prove to be an invaluable step toward understanding fundamental and pathological brain processes.

Packer, A. M., Peterka D. S., Hirtz, J. J., Prakash, R., Deisseroth, K. & Yuste, R. (2012). Two-photon optogenetics of neuronal circuits and dendritic spines in 3D. Nature Meth. 9:1202-5.
Alivisatos, A.P., Chun, M., Church, G.M., Greenspan, R.J, Roukes, M. L. and Yuste, R. (2012). The Brain Activity Map and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics. Neuron 74, 970-974.
Yuste, R. and Church G. (2014). The New Century of the Brain. Sci. Am.