With genetic modification, the neurons can be modified to emit fluorescent light as a function of the brain activity (i.e., the neurons "blink" as they fire) which literally makes the brain activity visible. The main challenge is to record the optical signals at a high throughput and we develop and applying optical imaging techniques to tackle this.
Analyzing Brain Structure
A brain is an incredibly complicated circuit that consists of billions of neurons. One of the key tasks that need to be tackled to understand this circuit is to reconstruct the complete schematic, or the wiring diagram, of the neurons. We develop and apply computational methods to automate this process using optical images of the brain tissue for scalable reconstruction.
Analyzing Brain Activity
We develop and apply computational methods to analyze the brain activity data to understand how the information flows and reveal the functional connection among the neurons. Finding the repeating motifs, finding local circuits that operate together, and extracting the synaptic strength from the brain activity will all be of great importance to understand a brain circuit.