We're interested in dissecting brain circuit and function by recording, perturbing, and controlling neural activity with the combination of optical microscopy and genetically encoded sensors and actuators. To accomplish these goals, we develop, characterize, and unify a set of tools under the umbrella of "NeuroToolbox".
Reading out neural activity with fluorescent genetically encoded sensors enables chronic experiments that detail the dynamics of specific neuron populations. Similarly, existing genetically encoded optical actuators such as channelrhodopsin and halorhodopsin targeted to particular functional groups of neurons can modify behavior. We are actively improving sensor signal fidelity and actuator efficiency to support a greater diversity of neuroscience experiments. In the near future, this involves improving sensor brightness and dynamic range using molecular biology. As the sensors and actuator capabilities expand and near deployment for neuroscience experiments, our technologically based research will evolve toward microscopy system design and data science. The evolution along each dimension of the NeuroToolbox package will allow us to probe more outstanding questions in traditional neuroscience.