Two-photon Imaging and Manipulation of Cortical Neural Circuits in vivo

Seminar | February 27 | 4-5 p.m. | Soda Hall, HP Auditorium (306)

 Weijian Yang, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University

 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)

One challenge of understanding how the brain works is the complexity of neural circuits. These circuits are composed of hundreds of thousands of neurons that are interconnected in a highly distributed fashion. Optical methods provide a route to record and manipulate the neural activity of a small subset of these cells with cellular resolution. The desire to access a larger volume with higher spatial and temporal resolutions is a driving force in the advancement of optical microscopy.

In this talk, I will discuss our approach to tackling the above challenges through novel three-dimensional (3D) imaging and optical manipulation methods. We developed novel two-photon microscopy with beam multiplexing strategy and wavefront coding technique. The new microscope enables simultaneous imaging of neural activity across multiple layers in the mouse cortex in vivo, a challenging task in neuroscience. A similar principle is used for optical manipulation where a 3D holographic excitation pattern is projected on the mouse cortex to photostimulate a targeted group of cells. This all-optical imaging and manipulation approach achieves simultaneous reading and writing of cortical activity in 3D. Utilizing these tools, intriguing neural activity and plasticity in mouse cortex are unveiled which could lay the foundation for reprogramming the neural circuits.

Weijian Yang is a postdoctoral research scientist in Prof. Rafael Yuste's neuroscience lab at Columbia University. He received his B.S. degree from Peking University, China in 2008, and his Ph.D. degree from University of California, Berkeley in 2013, both in Electrical Engineering. His research interests include optoelectronic devices and systems, optical neurotechnology, and neuroscience. He is a recipient of the Career Awards at the Scientific Interface from Burroughs Wellcome Fund in 2016., 510-643-8208