Group Leader Duda Kvitsiani has been awarded a 1.6 mio DKK grant from the Lundbeck Foundation to his project “Light and the Brain”, where he aims for developing patterned light stimulation and imaging system for behaving rodents.
Description of project:
The ultimate goal of neuroscience is to understand how pattern of ensemble activity of neurons generates behavior. Systems neuroscience in last decades made huge progress in correlating population activity of neurons to sensations, perceptions and decision making in animals. However with existing methods it is impossible to establish causative links between neural ensemble activity and behavior. Advance of optogenetics brought the prospect of changing that paradigm. With light it becomes possible to activate and inactivate neurons of interest and establish causal link between neural activity and behavior. However all current optogenetic experiments suffer from the same problem: all light sensitive neurons are activated/inactivated at millisecond precision in a large neural
tissue, something that has never been observed in unperturbed brain. Therefore next challenge in neuroscience is to design a method of addressing individual light sensitive neurons with temporal and spatial precision of natural neural ensemble activity. Patterned light stimulation thus promises to answer fundamental questions about how sensations, perceptions and cognition arise as a function of neural activity in the brain.