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Symposium Leatures


All-optical Interrogation of Neural Circuits


Plenary Lecture

All-optical Interrogation of Neural Circuits

Professor Michael Häusser, University College London, UK


Neural circuits display complex spatiotemporal patterns of activity on the millisecond timescale during behavior. Understanding how these activity patterns drive behavior is a fundamental problem in neuroscience, and remains a major challenge due to the complexity of their spatiotemporal dynamics. The ability to manipulate activity in genetically defined sets of neurons on the millisecond timescale using optogenetics has provided a powerful new tool for making causal links between neuronal activity and behavior. However, conventional optogenetic experiments typically involve simultaneous activation of a large fraction of a neural population, which is unphysiological. We have recently developed a novel approach which combines simultaneous two-photon calcium imaging and two-photon targeted optogenetic photostimulation with the use of a spatial light modulator (SLM) to provide ‘all-optical’ readout and manipulation of the same neurons in vivo. This approach enables reading and writing of activity in neural circuits with single-cell resolution and single action potential precision during behavior. I will describe the power, limitations and future potential of this approach; and discuss how it can be used to address many important problems in neuroscience, including transforming our search for the neural code and the links between neural circuit activity and behavior.


Biography of Professor Michael Häusser, FMedSci, FRS

Michael Hausser
Michael Häusser is Professor of Neuroscience at University College London and a Principal Research Fellow of the Wellcome Trust. He received his PhD from Oxford University under the supervision of Julian Jack. He subsequently worked with Nobel Laureate Bert Sakmann at the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg and with Philippe Ascher at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. He established his own laboratory at UCL in 1997 and became Professor of Neuroscience in 2001. He is interested in understanding the cellular basis of neural computation in the mammalian brain using a combination of experiments and theory, with a special focus on the role of dendrites. His group has helped to pioneer several new optical approaches for probing the function of neural circuits in the intact brain.