Many people suffering from diseases such as epilepsy, autism, or are diagnosed with schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's disease that cannot be helped because we do not understand how the brain works, notes Rafael Yuste in this BiOS Hot Topic talk. So scientists are working on methodologies to study the brain, visualize neurons, and map the connections, in order to comprehend neural circuitry in its entirety and develop treatments.
Neuroscientists are currently able to visualize neuron activity using calcium imaging, based on changes in fluorescence intensity or spectral properties of a dye that is sensitive to fluctuations in intracellular calcium concentrations, which is directly related with neuron activity. This method works in live animals, using a window in their skull. Nonlinear microscopy provides the ability to image deeper inside the brain.
The Yuste group is now working on expanding this technique to fast 3D imaging in the brains of living animals. Until not long ago, 3D visualization was only achievable by sequentially scanning different focal planes, which is very time-consuming. The implementation of holographic methods in their microscope can bring a solution.
Rafael Yuste is Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience at Columbia University. He obtained his MD at the Universidad Autónoma in the Fundación Jimenez Diaz Hospital (Spain). After a brief research period in Sydney Brenner's group at the LMB in Cambridge, UK, he performed PhD studies with Larry Katz in Torsten Wiesel's laboratory at Rockefeller University in New York. He then moved to Bell Labs, where he was a postdoctoral student of David Tank and Winfried Denk.
In 2005 he became HHMI Investigator and Co-Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia. He has been a visiting researcher in Javier DeFelipe's laboratory at the Cajal Institute/UPM in Madrid since 1997, and since 2012 at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.
Yuste: Simultaneous imaging of neural activity in 3D (Presentation Video)