Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Biology and Biomedical Sciences: Neurosciences


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Timothy Holy


Complex computations performed by the brain are produced by activities of neuronal populations. There is a large diversity in the functions of each individual neuron, and neuronal activities occur in the time scale of milliseconds. In order to gain a fundamental understanding of the neuronal populations, one has to measure activity of each neuron at high temporal resolution, while investigating enough neurons to encapsulate the neuronal diversity. Traditional neurotechniques such as electrophysiology and optical imaging are constrained by the number of neurons whose activities can be simultaneously measured or the speed of measuring such activities. We have developed a novel light-sheet based technique called Objective Coupled Planar Illumination: OCPI) microscopy which is capable of measuring simultaneous activities of thousands of neurons at high speeds. In this thesis I pursue the following two aims: * Improve OCPI microscopy by enhancing the spatial resolution deeper in tissue. Tissue inhomogeneity and refractive index mismatch at the surface of the tissue lead to optical aberrations. We have compensated for such aberrations by: 1) miniaturizing the OCPI illumination optics, so as to enable more vertical imaging of the tissue,: 2) correcting for the angular defocus caused by the refraction at the immersion fluid/tissue interface, and: 3) applying adaptive optics to correct for higher order optical aberrations. The improvement in the depth at which one can image tissue will enable the measurement of activities of neuronal populations in cortical areas. * Measure the diversity in the expression pattern of VSNs responsive to sulfated steroids. Nodari et al. have identified sulfated steroids as a novel family of ligands which activate vomeronasal sensory neurons: VSNs). Due to the experimental constraints, it has not been possible to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the number, location and functional characteristics of the sulfated steroid responsive VSNs. Applying OCPI microscopy and calcium imaging to simultaneously image thousands of VSNs, we show that the sulfated steroid responsive neurons: 1) have unique ligand preferences,: 2) are predominantly present in the apical regions of the VNO, and: 3) that the choice of expression of a receptor type is not purely stochastic.


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