Imaging the brain at high spatiotemporal resolution
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Physics has long employed optical methods to probe and manipulate matter on scales from the infinitesimal to the immense. To understand the brain, we need to monitor physiological processes of single synapses as well as neural activity of a large number of networked neurons. Optical microscopy has emerged as an ideal tool in this quest, as it is capable of imaging neurons distributed over millimeter dimensions with sub-micron spatial resolution. Using concepts developed in astronomy and optics, my laboratory develops next-generation microscopy methods for imaging the brain at higher resolution, greater depth, and faster speed. By shaping the wavefront of the light, we have achieved synapse-level spatial resolution through the entire depth of the primary visual cortex, optimized microendoscopes for imaging deeply buried nuclei, and developed high-speed volumetric imaging methods. I will discuss our recent advances as well as their applications to understanding neural circuits.