Optical Neurotechnology: Watching Brain Circuits in Action
A combination of technological developments over the last few years have instigated a revolution in the brain sciences. The development of two photon fluorescence microscopy allowed us to observe single neurons, and even subcellular processes such as dendrites, in the intact and functioning brain. Genetically encodable reporters have been developed which allow calcium and voltage signals to be visualised while the brain processes information, and even to manipulate cell function with light. In this talk I will describe how engineers and neuroscientists are working together to “reverse engineer” brain circuits, and discuss how these technologies may lead to advances in treatments for brain degeneration in dementia and natural aging.
Simon Schultz is Royal Society Industry Fellow and Reader in Neurotechnology at Imperial College London. He trained in physics and electrical engineering in Australia, before completing a D.Phil. in neuroscience at Oxford University, and postdoctoral fellowships at NYU and UCL. He joined Imperial in 2004, and since has led the development of a critical mass of research at the interface between engineering and neuroscience. He is widely known for theoretical and experimental work on neural coding - the study of how the brain represents information – as well as the use of multiphoton optical methods to study brain circuits. He is Director of the new £10M EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Neurotechnology.