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Published February 16, 2016 | public
Journal Article

Tools for Anatomical and Functional Analysis of Widely Distributed Brain Networks


Our research interests focus on developing tools and methods for neuroscience (optogenetic actuators and sensors; tissue clearing and imaging) as well as on investigating the mechanisms underlying deep brain stimulation (DBS) and on the long-term effects of DBS on neuronal health, function, and ultimately behavior. Methods such as Optogenetics (for precise function control) and CLARITY (for intact circuit mapping) enable scientists to understand nervous system circuit anatomy, function, and dysfunction at a depth previously impossible, vastly expanding knowledge of the nervous system and associated psychiatric, neurological, and peripheral organs disorders. CLARITY renders tissue transparent for visualization and identification of cellular components and their molecular identity without slicing therefore improving the likelihood to detect and accurately map sparse populations or projections. This method complements Optogenetics in that it can reveal circuit-wide effects of optogenetic manipulations and also aid in mapping novel circuits that need tuning in disease. The mastery, improvement, and implementation of both these methods require a large-scale cross-disciplinary effort. To this end, our projects range from optimizing CLARITY for non-brain tissue, to developing actuators and sensors of electrical activity via protein engineering and mining of natural sources, to studying the impact of neuromodulation of selected pathways in the central and peripheral nervous system on behavior.

Additional Information

© 2016 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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