Will talk about: New fluorescent probes and new perspectives in neuroscience
After obtaining his Ph.D. from Osaka University, Japan, Atsushi Miyawaki carried out postdoctoral studies on intracellular signal transduction under Katsuhiko Mikoshiba at the University of Tokyo, Japan. He initiated studies of fluorescent proteins and their application under Roger Y. Tsien at the University of California, San Diego, USA. His group is interested in the development of new bioimaging technologies using fluorescent proteins.
In the nervous system, intracellular signaling events are closely linked with electrical activities, and play essential roles in information processing. To identify and characterize the mechanisms by which signals are organized inside cells, it is necessary to analyze spatiotemporal patterns of signaling pathways. On the other hand, neural circuitry operates as an ensemble in the nervous system. To investigate the patterns of neuronal firing, it is necessary to monitor multiple transmembrane voltages or signals that result from electrical activity in complex tissues or intact animals. Over the past decade, various probes have been generated principally using fluorescent proteins. I will discuss how the probes have advanced our understanding of the spatio-temporal regulation of biological functions inside neurons and brains, and their technical limitations. I will speculate on how these approaches will continue to improve due to the various features of fluorescent proteins. Finally, I will discuss in-depth brain imaging, which is one of the most sought-after themes of today’s optical technologies, as my laboratory has been and will be engaged in the development of new technologies that would advance the imaging depth limit.