The research goal of this CAREER program is to develop and apply a new technology that integrates photoacoustics (i.e., sound generated by light) and fluorescence to precisely target neurocircuits known to be activated in response to addiction. Identifying the neuronal subtype in reward circuitry is important to understanding addiction. This group will further develop effective pharmacotherapies for targeted treatments. The scientific outcomes of this CAREER project will be specifically incorporated into education and outreach. Through these efforts, new opportunities will be developed for education, community engagement, and motivation of the next generation of medically-inspired engineers.
Limitations in optical imaging depth and cellular identification confines targeted high resolution recording of neuronal circuits to the top layer of the living brain. A novel tool, pioneered by the principal investigator, will serve as the foundation of a new scalable and automated approach to measure and control neuronal signals deep in the living brain with high spatial resolution and genetic specificity. This will enable investigators to better characterize and understand complex neural interactions, improving our fundamental understanding of widespread brain circuit activity that will be broadly useful for a variety of neurological disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, beyond current capabilities. Establishing a valid and reliable system to target select cells in the deep brain, precisely modulate neuronal activity, and record electrical signals from multiple neurons within a single circuit will enable transformational discoveries in neuroscience scientific
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.