About the lab
Our mission is to find basic circuit mechanisms in the temporal cortex underlining the coding of memory traces and spatial information. We also interrogate how pathological brain activities may evolve from “normal” activities. We are particularly interested in how specific interneuronal populations -or even individual neurons- take part in commanding the neuronal networks.
We use versatile tools in order to dissect and understand the physiological and pathophysiological roles of circuitry elements. Our laboratory successfully combines electrophysiology, correlated light- and electron microscopy, optogenetics on transgenic animals and behavioral experiments.
Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy is a fluorescence microscopy super-resolution technique that is able to circumvent the optical diffraction limit. The method was developed by Stefan Hell, who received the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 2014.
A new method introduced in our laboratory is the miniature fluorescence microscope. The design was pioneered by Mark Schnitzer's Lab at Stanford and published in a paper in Nature Methods in 2011. For our experiments we use the Miniscope, created by a group of researchers from UCLA. It uses wide-field fluorescence imaging to record neural activity in awake, freely moving mice. Our laboratory made experiments with the wired and wireless version of Miniscope. We are interested in imaging of the first layer of medial entorhinal cortex with the Miniscope and a combination of GRIN-lenses and right angled prisms.
In vivo two-photon microscopy
The wo-photon microscope has the ability to image deep (several hundred microns) within living tissue for extended periods of time with negligible phototoxicity and minimal photobleaching. This advantage over conventional confocal microscopy is due to the basic physical properties of two-photon excitation. Two-photon excitation relies on concentrated femtosecond pulsed laser illumination from a light source to produce sufficient photon density for the near-simultaneous absorption of two infrared photons by a fluorescent molecule. Pulsed laser excitation reduces the total energy that tissue is exposed to without reducing the probability of fluorophore excitation.