Optical deconstruction of fully-assembled biological systems
Karl Deisseroth (Stanford)
October 23, 2014 7 pm • Davidson Math and Science Rm 110 (Auditorium)
The journal Nature dubbed Karl Deisseroth "Method Man" for two groundbreaking techniques developed in his lab, Optogenetics and CLARITY. Both are game changers in the neuroscience world, revolutionizing the way scientists can study the brain. Optogenetics gives scientists the ability to turn neural activity on and off with light-driven switches. CLARITY turns a brain into a clear Jell-o like structure with all neurons intact, giving scientists an unprecedented view of the brain's molecules and cells. These tools allow neuroscientists to address fundamental questions about dynamic changes in brain structure and function. Deisseroth's group applies these strategies to better understand the biological basis for neurological and psychiatric diseases, and how the brain responds to learning, injury, and seizures.
Deisseroth serves on President Obama's BRAIN Initiative advisory committee. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of dozens of prestigious national and international science awards.
Charlie Chubb (UC Irvine)
August 29, 2014 3 pm • Ansari Business Bldg 106
Cephalopods (squid, octopus and cuttlefish) have exceptional neurophysiologically controlled skin that can rapid change color, enabling them to achieve dynamic crypsis in a wide range of habitats. Chubb shows the range of camouflage patterns that cuttlefish (Sepia Officinalis) produces and discusses some of the remarkably subtle strategies these patterns use to elude detection. The animals' patterning responses are controlled by the visual input they receive which are sensitive to the visual granularity of the stimulus substrate relative to their own body size.
A deep mystery remains unresolved: cuttlefish have skin that enables them to produce four dimensions of chromatic variation which they use to achieve masterful matches to the colors of substrates in their natural environment. However, cuttlefish have only a single retinal photopigment; in other words, they are colorblind.