Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) propose to develop and commercialize an affordable optogenetics/two-photon (2P) imaging instrument that will enable simultaneous manipulation and recording of neuronal activity in genetically modified animals. The goal of this project is to bring this highly desirable tool into the hands of neuroscientists and expand their capability for investigating and deciphering neural circuits underpinning complex brain function and behavior. Currently, the access of neuroscientists to this technology is profoundly limited, because of both high cost, which is often beyond the affordability of neuroscience researchers, and difficulty of use on live animals (bench-top mounted microscope platforms are cumbersome for in vivo brain studies involving living animals). To reach this goal, PSI will use innovative technologies, including dispersion-compensated laser delivery through a fiber cord, coherent supercontinuum (SC) generation in a photonic crystal fiber that enables the use of multiple excitation wavelengths selected for optimal excitation of calcium-sensitive fluorescent proteins, and beam control with spatial light modulators, etc. The achievement of this goal will be supported by the expertise and a proven track record of developing the next generation biomedical devices of the investigators from PSI, as well as the engineering and neuroscience expertise of the leading research groups at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The purpose of this proposed research is to develop a versatile and affordable optogenetics/two-photon imaging instrument for in vivo brain studies. This portable and affordable instrument will facilitate cutting- edge research, which will continue to unveil the complex function of the human brain.