Adam Cohen - Molecular and optical tools for mapping brain activity

Event Details:

Thursday, April 13, 2023
This Event Has Passed
12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT
Event Sponsor
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Add to calendar:

Join us at Gunn Rotunda in the Stanford Neurosciences Building to learn about the latest cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond

Wu Tsai Neuro's weekly seminar series is back to being held in-person since Fall 2022. Masking is strongly encouraged for the health and safety of our community Join the speaker for coffee, cookies, and conversation after the talk

Molecular and optical tools for mapping brain activity


Neurons communicate via electrical impulses, but until recently these signals have been invisible. Engineered opsin proteins from diverse microorganisms can convert the electrical activity of cells into flashes of fluorescence. I will describe molecular, optical, and computational tools for imaging bioelectrical signals. We used these tools to dissect the biophysics of dendritic integration and synaptic plasticity. I will then describe some new molecular "tickertape" tools which open the possibility of whole-brain neural recordings.

Adam Cohen

Harvard University 

(Visit lab website)

Adam Cohen is a professor in the departments of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Physics at Harvard. His research focuses on developing tools to study molecules, cells, and organisms, with a focus on imaging membrane potential and other physical forces. He has used voltage imaging to study bioelectric phenomena in samples ranging from single bacteria to behaving mice to human stem cell-derived neurons from patients with neurological disorders. Cohen has received the Sackler Prize in Chemistry, a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, Blavatnik National Award in Chemistry, the American Chemical Society Pure Chemistry Award, and a Presidential Early Career Award from Barack Obama. As a high school student, he won first place in the U.S. Westinghouse Science Talent Search for constructing an electrochemical scanning tunneling microscope.Cohen obtained PhD degrees from Stanford in experimental biophysics where he worked with W. E. Moerner (2007) and Cambridge, UK in theoretical physics where he worked with Shaul Mukamel and L. Mahadevan (2003). He was an undergraduate at Harvard where he graduated summa cum laude in 2001.

Hosted by - Dr. Xiaojing Gao

About the Wu Tsai Neuro Seminar Series

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute seminar series brings together the Stanford neuroscience community to discuss cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond.

Topics include new discoveries in fundamental neurobiology; advances in human and translational neuroscience; insights from computational and theoretical neuroscience; and the development of novel research technologies and neuro-engineering breakthroughs.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held Thursdays at 12:00 noon PT.

Sign up to learn about all our upcoming events