Probing Biology in the Native State: From Long-Term Brain Electrophysiology to Subcellular Dynamic Imaging

Date: March 27, 2020
Time: 10:00am
Location: EE Conference Room
Speaker: Tian-Ming Fu
Faculty host: Prof. Aurel Lazar

Abstract: The urgency to understand dynamics in biology is impeded by a major dilemma in tool development. The large dynamic range of biological processes—interactions of molecules within milliseconds result in changes across whole-organisms over years—calls for measurements with high spatiotemporal resolution and large-scale long-term coverage. However, high resolution measurement often requires frequent invasive sampling and hence limits its spatiotemporal coverage. In this seminar, I will present two independent yet complementary strategies for probing biology in vivo with minimum invasiveness across different spatiotemporal scales. First, I will introduce a new paradigm—syringe-injectable mesh electronics—for seamlessly merging electronics with the brain. The gliosis-free and three-dimensional interpenetrated brain-electronics interface enables stable stimulation and recording from the same neurons and neural circuits over a year. I will then discuss the application of mesh electronics to chronic aging study and retina electrophysiology in awake mice. Second, I will describe a novel multimodal imaging platform with integrated adaptive optics correction to observe subcellular dynamics in multicellular organisms with high spatiotemporal resolution, large imaging depth and low phototoxicity. I will present the application of this platform to various biological systems, including transcription factor kinetics in embryoid bodies, axonal targeting in Drosophila, cancer metastasis and embryogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans and zebrafish. Both the electrical and optical approaches opened up new windows to probe dynamics in biology with minimum perturbation and expanded spatiotemporal ranges.

Bio: Dr. Tian-Ming Fu obtained his B.S. in Math and Physics from Tsinghua University, China in 2011. He then carried out graduate study with Prof. Charles Lieber at Harvard University, where his research focused on the development of syringe-injectable mesh electronics for stable long-term in vivo brain electrophysiology at single-neuron resolution in rodent and nonhuman primate to study neural circuit evolution involved in visual perception, learning, memory, and aging. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in 2017, Dr. Fu worked with Prof. Eric Betzig at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus as a postdoc, where he developed multimodal imaging platforms with adaptive optics correction for 4D high resolution imaging of molecular and subcellular dynamics in multicellular environments, including brain organoids, Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila, and zebrafish.  

Event Contact: Eliese Lissner | el3001@columbia.edu


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