The discovery of the green fluorescence protein by the Nobel prize winners in physiology of 2008 promoted the development of several genetically encoded indicators for neuronal activity and neurotransmission in vivo. The development of calcium indicators, as well as technological development of miniaturized microscopes, that can be carried by small mammals like rodents has allowed functional imaging of numerous brain regions in awake animals, which greatly prompts the advance of neuroscience.
Neuronal activity, neurotransmission and neuromodulation mediate the ability of the mammalian brain to dynamically adjust its internal state in response to changes in the environment. Altered activity/signalling in the brain is a hallmark of many neuropsychiatry and neurological disorders. To understand the precise mechanisms by which neural activity/neurotransmission regulate healthy and diseased neural circuitry, one needs to measure their spatiotemporal dynamics in the living brain with great precision. For that, we optimize and apply fluorescent tools to measure the spatial and temporal profiles of neuronal activity and neurotransmission using genetically encoded sensors in vivo. These fluorescence-based signals are acquired by several tools like two-photon imaging, miniaturized microscopes (miniscopes) or fiber photometry for precise imaging at cellular to synaptic levels. After, we apply advances computational methods to analyze the real-time activity of each cell and link it with animal behavior.
Innovative Aspects and Main advantages
Comparatively with classical methods for neuronal activity recording (electrophysiological recordings), this technology allows to map activity at the circuit and network level, visualize thousands of individual neurons simultaneously during a complex behavioral task, and record in real time neurotransmission in the brain.
- Circuit signatures of neurological, neuropsychiatric, or neurodevelopmental disease dysfunction
- Circuit-based assay as a predictor of preclinical efficacy
- Functional validation of pharmacological manipulation (pre-clinical trials)
- Brain blood flow assessment in the context of disease
Stage of Development
The technology is fully implemented in the Lab.
Intellectual Property Rights
The technology has not been patented
Basic and Pre-clinical research collaborators are sought.