Colloquium: Imaging Neurochemistry with Synthetic Fluorescent Nanosensors

Date: October 20, 2016
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm

Location: Johnson Center, Gold Room (Google map)

Featured Speaker:
Markita del Carpio Landry
UC Berkeley

To visualize an important (but invisible) biomolecule inside an optically-opaque sample such as a living organism, two challenges must be overcome: (i) detecting a molecule for which there exists no optical molecular recognition platform, and (ii) detecting a molecule deep inside a sample that is not transparent. Nanomaterials have distinct optical, chemical, and mechanical properties that make them useful for biomedical applications including the development of highly sensitive and specific sensors of biological activity. Our work seeks to design, characterize, and implement near-infrared optical sensors. In particular, we seek to interface our sensors into biological systems requiring high spatial and temporal information readouts, which are particularly challenging to study. Our work addresses direct visualization of neurotransmitters which are key molecular governors of brain function, whose imbalances lead to neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we discuss an optical real-time sensor for neurotransmitter dopamine to address unmet needs in neural imaging. We characterize this sensor in the context of its utility for high spatial and temporal neurotransmitter imaging in the brain, describe its function from a molecular dynamics (MD) perspective, validate its use in vitro, and extrapolate its use in vivo to correlate external stimuli (experiences, behavior) to chemical output (neurotransmission).

Refreshments will be served.