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Watching brain circuitry in action: two-photon imaging of neural activity

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Reverse-engineering the function of cortical circuitry using traditional “blind” extracellular recording is a difficult (if not impossible) task, due to the random sampling of neurons it involves. New optical recording approaches allow ways around this: calcium imaging allows the activity of virtually all the neurons in an area of tissue to be imaged at single cell resolution, and two-photon targeted recording allows visualised electrophysiology to be performed in vivo. The cerebellum is an ideal structure to which to apply such an approach, as its cortical circuit lies almost entirely within 300 microns of the surface, and as we are able to image calcium signals in vivo with dendritic resolution. I will present recent work in which I use these techniques to study the synchronization of complex spikes among populations of cerebellar Purkinje cells.

This talk is part of the Craik Club series.

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