Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Neurosciences)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Among optical imaging techniques light sheet fluorescence microscopy stands out as one of the most attractive for capturing high-speed biological dynamics unfolding in three dimensions. The technique is potentially millions of times faster than point-scanning techniques such as two-photon microscopy. This potential is especially poignant for neuroscience applications due to the fact that interactions between neurons transpire over mere milliseconds within tissue volumes spanning hundreds of cubic microns. However current-generation light sheet microscopes are limited by volume scanning rate and/or camera frame rate. We begin by reviewing the optical principles underlying light sheet fluorescence microscopy and the origin of these rate bottlenecks. We present an analysis leading us to the conclusion that Objective Coupled Planar Illumination (OCPI) microscopy is a particularly promising technique for recording the activity of large populations of neurons at high sampling rate.

We then present speed-optimized OCPI microscopy, the first fast light sheet technique to avoid compromising image quality or photon efficiency. We enact two strategies to develop the fast OCPI microscope. First, we devise a set of optimizations that increase the rate of the volume scanning system to 40 Hz for volumes up to 700 microns thick. Second, we introduce Multi-Camera Image Sharing (MCIS), a technique to scale imaging rate by incorporating additional cameras. MCIS can be applied not only to OCPI but to any widefield imaging technique, circumventing the limitations imposed by the camera. Detailed design drawings are included to aid in dissemination to other research groups.

We also demonstrate fast calcium imaging of the larval zebrafish brain and find a heartbeat-induced motion artifact. We recommend a new preprocessing step to remove the artifact through filtering. This step requires a minimal sampling rate of 15 Hz, and we expect it to become a standard procedure in zebrafish imaging pipelines.

In the last chapter we describe essential computational considerations for controlling a fast OCPI microscope and processing the data that it generates. We introduce a new image processing pipeline developed to maximize computational efficiency when analyzing these multi-terabyte datasets, including a novel calcium imaging deconvolution algorithm. Finally we provide a demonstration of how combined innovations in microscope hardware and software enable inference of predictive relationships between neurons, a promising complement to more conventional correlation-based analyses.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Timothy E. Holy

Committee Members

Dennis Barbour, Martha Bagnall, Steve Petersen, Matthew Lew,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/ann4-r193