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Watching the brain at work

Wednesday 8 February 2017, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Leon Lagnado, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex

Abstract- What goes on in the brain of an animal exploring the world? What patterns do the nerve impulses follow when that animal observes a moving object or hears a sound?  In short, how does the brain work? 

The brain is a scarily complex organ, operating through countless circuits of interconnected neurons and electrical potentials on the order of a thousandth of a volt flying around at close to electronic speed.  How can we observe this activity in a live animal?  For many years, the best we could do was to try to detect the electrical signals using tiny electrodes placed in the brain.  A major breakthrough came in the 1990’s with the development of a technique, multiphoton microscopy, that allows brain activity to be observed using light.  In conjunction with genetic manipulation and specially designed fluorescent proteins, multiphoton microscopy now allows us to make movies of brain circuits in action. This lecture will describe this technology and how neuroscientists are using light to observe the brain at work.

Host - Gareth Evans

Location: P/X/001

Admission: Open