GCIS W301/W303 Gordon Center for Integrative Science 929 E. 57th Street
Gordon Center for Integrative Science
929 E. 57th Street
Understanding how a network of interconnected neurons receives, stores and processes information in the human brain is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. Neurons encode input and output information by electrical signals. Inputs consist of miniature postsynaptic potentials from dendrites. Output information consists of action potentials propagating along axons that are digital, all-or-none, voltage spikes. Optical detection and imaging of electric activities provide unprecedented spatial flexibility and parallelization. In the last decade, the advancement of voltage-sensitive fluorescent proteins, and small potentiometric dyes, has drastically enhanced the capability optical recording of electrical activity in cells. However, the use of fluorophores requires membrane insertion and suffers from photobleaching, phototoxicity and limited time resolution. We exploit unique physical properties of electrochromic materials, whose optical properties can be modulated by the applied electric potential. Combined with sensitive optical detection, we developed an electrochromic optical recording (ECORE) technique that achieves label-free and non-perturbative detection of action potentials in neurons, cardiomyocytes, and brain slices.