One reason the brain is difficult to study is that many individual neurons or brain areas are active at once; conventional techniques allow one to monitor only one or a few neurons or locations at a time. We have worked on developing several variations of optical methods for measuring brain activity; these include organic voltage and calcium sensitive dyes and fluorescent protein voltage sensors (GEVIs). Concurrently we have applied these sensors to measuring activity in Aplysia, salamander, rat, and mice brains. At present we are concentrating on improving fluorescent protein voltage sensors and using them to measure activity in the mouse olfactory sensory system.
Ours is a small laboratory in the Department of Physiology at Yale Medical School and at the Center for Functional Connectomics at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. The planning, the experiments, and the analysis have always been done in a very collaborative fashion with everyone sharing their opinions and efforts. You may have noticed that all of the individuals are smiling. This must mean that the experiments are easy.