Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Time: 11:00 am
Location: Zoom only
Talk Title: Watching the Brain in Action: Creating Tools for Functional Analysis of Neural Circuitry
To study the neural circuitry, the action of one cells under the context of others, one would precisely measure and perturb specific neuronal populations and molecules in behaving animals who are specifically engaged in performing the computation or function of interest. The dataset of millions of neurons firing together underlying a behavior are required to develop and refine theories (hypotheses) explaining animal behavior in terms of brain physiology. The focus of lab is to develop novel genetically encoded indicators based on fluorescence proteins, especially focusing on direct and specific measurement of myriad input signals with needed spatial and temporal resolutions. In this talk, I will discuss our recent progress into develop and apply a new suite of genetically encoded indicators of neural activity. I will discuss the design, characterization and applications of these genetically encoded indicators for both in vivo imaging and drug discovery. In combination with calcium imaging and optogenetics, these sensors are well poised to permit direct functional analysis of how the spatiotemporal coding of neural input signaling mediates the plasticity and function of target circuits.
Two representative publications:
- Patriarchi T, Cho JR, Merten K, Howe MW, Marley A, Xiong WH, Folk RW, Broussard GJ, Liang R, Jang MJ, Zhong H, Dombeck D, von Zastrow M, Nimmerjahn A, Gradinaru V, Williams JT, Tian L. Ultrafast neuronal imaging of dopamine dynamics with designed genetically encoded sensors. Science. 2018 Jun 29;360(6396).
- Dong, Chunyang and Ly, Calvin and Dunlap, Lee E. and Vargas, Maxemiliano V. and Sun, Junqing and Hwang, In-Wook and Azinfar, Arya and Oh, Won Chan and Wetsel, William C. and Olson, David E. and Tian, Lin, Psychedelic-Inspired Drug Discovery Using an Engineered Biosensor. Cell. 2021
Dr. Tian holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology from Northwestern University. She completed postdoctoral training at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus, where she developed a toolbox of ultrasensitive neural activity sensors that have been widely utilized. She established her own lab at UC davis in 2012. Her current work is a combination of neural activity sensor development and applications in health and disease. Recently, Dr. Tian’s lab developed a suite of fluorescence sensors for dopamine and other monoamines to enable ultrafast neuronal imaging of neuromodulator dynamics in vivo and receptor activation, which opened new doors for imaging beyond spikes and evaluation of addictive chemical scaffolds at scale at the early stage of drug disocvery. Tian has received the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award, Human Frontier Science Program Young Investigator Awards, Hartwell Foundation Individual Biomedical Research Award and NIH BRAIN Initiative grants.