Imaging learning at synapses and circuits
A core question in neuroscience is to understand how proper neuronal connections are achieved and how neural activity is linked to complex behaviors. Over the past several years, many investigators have attempted to understand brain functions by leveraging cutting-edge techniques such as in vivo calcium imaging and electrophysiology. Although these technologies tremendously improve our ability to examine brain functions, we still face the difficult task of probing general mechanisms underlying diverse animal behaviors. Our lab focuses on (1) elucidating cellular mechanisms of synaptogenesis in mammals, and (2) developing novel technologies that label and control behaviorally-relevant circuits. In this talk, I will present the cellular level mechanisms of synapse formation in developing cortex and recent development of novel optogenetic methods that label active neuronal ensemble and neuromodulation-sensitive populations. Ongoing and future work will also be discussed in the end.