Multi-photon imaging resolves border disputes in the brain

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 2:00pm - 2:50pm
Lind 305
Prakash Kara (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
How precisely can function be locally organized in the brain? In other words, are functional borders sharp, having a spatial scale of individual nerve cells. Moreover, since the brain has a mechanism for increasing blood flow locally to regions with increased neural activity, can changes in blood flow capture the spatial scale of coding by nerve cells? My laboratory has been using multi-photon imaging of the brain to measure sensory-evoked responses of individual blood vessels (dilation, blood velocity) while imaging neural activity in the surrounding tissue. I will first present data to demonstrate the functional micro-organization of nerve cells in the brain. Then the responses of individual blood vessels will be compared. Such optical imaging studies led us to quantify the spatial precision of neural circuits across several species and propose a new hypothesis on the propagation of blood flow between neighboring brain regions. Thus, these optical imaging results have implications for the interpretation of data obtained from non-optical techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).