New faculty member develops light-based tools to study the brain

When the brain is at work, large numbers of neurons within it interact rapidly, passing messages, sometimes across large distances. The most recent addition to Rockefeller University’s faculty, Alipasha Vaziri, devises optical tools for capturing and manipulating these interactions to create dynamic maps of neural network activity. Vaziri’s appointment to tenure-track associate professor was made in September and his laboratory will relocate to Rockefeller next year. Working at the interface of physics and biology, Vaziri has developed a portfolio of light-based techniques that make it possible to interrogate neuronal activity within the living brain. “Because neurons share many connections, our challenge is to image as many of them as possible on physiologically relevant time scales while observing individual cells—requirements that have been quite difficult to satisfy simultaneously,” Vaziri says. “By…


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