Eyal Seidemann, Bill Geisler and Boris Zemelman receive NIH U01 Cooperative Research Grant entitled “An Optical-Genetic Toolbox for Reading and Writing Neural Population Codes in Functional Maps”.
The goal of this research project will be to develop and optimize an optical-genetic toolbox for reading and writing neural population codes in functional maps of awake, higher mammals. This will be accomplished by developing a new genetic method that will provide long-term expression of transgenes in primates with cell-type and activity- dependent specificity. A two-photon microscope for behaving monkeys will be developed that enables monitoring of the transgene expression with cellular resolution and complement current imaging techniques with larger coverage but coarser resolution. Finally, methods for writing neural population codes in functional maps will be developed by combining patterned light stimulation that targets specific functional domains and selective expression of actuators. Development of these tools will enable a deeper understanding of the neural code and a better characterization of the capabilities and limitations of methods for reading and writing neural population codes in functional maps in humans.