PHOTONIC-NEUROSURGERY LAB

Difato Francesco

Neuroscience research has recently taken advantage of optical approaches to record, modulate and manipulate the physiological activity of neurons. Studies on the nature of light-matter interactions have paved the way for emerging fields in biophysics and neuroscience, while advances in optical systems have provided minimally invasive approaches for studying the structure and function of living cells. Precise engineering of light-matter interactions allows contact-free manipulation of biological samples, such as the use of optical tweezers and laser dissector for precise and reproducible “optical surgery”. At the same time, molecular engineering has provided a new generation of optical probes to detect and modulate the activity of living cells.

My work has focused on the development of optical systems for the precise and controlled spatio-temporal manipulation of biological samples, and on the integration of optical setups with electrophysiological recording devices to study the central nervous system at various levels of complexity.

UOPTYoungaward  Taylor

  The Koh Young Best Paper Award 2012

      

Integration of Optical Manipulation and Electrophysiological Tools to Modulate and Record Activity in Neural Networks.  F. Difato, L. Schibalsky, F. Benfenati, and A. Blau. International Journal of Optomechatronics, 2011, 5(3), 191-216.

Corresponding Author: Difato F.

Photonic-neurosurgery lab @ JOVE

click on the image below to watch the published video article

JoVE

Annual best paper award

4th Joint Workshop on Computer/Robot Assisted Surgery.

Annual Best Paper Award:

Neurophysiology guided single cell optical surgery. Averna A, Bisio M, Pruzzo G, Chiappalone M, Bonifazi P and Difato F.




Holography

Holography

on Saturday, 17 March 2012. Posted in Home

Currently the two most commonly configurations of optical microscopy used in neuroscience laboratories are wide field illumination and laser scanning imaging. In wide field microscopy, the whole field of view is simultaneously illuminated, allowing fast image acquisition or fast repetitive stimulation, but preventing the application of complex spatial light patterns (fig. 1A). Differently, in laser scanning microscopy a diffraction limited laser spot is sequentially deflected in the field of view, allowing the selective illumination of portions of the sample that depend on the scanning trajectory. This configuration leads to an increase of the spatial but to a significant loss in the time resolution of the optical system. Both approaches thus have intrinsic limitations with respect to the degree of complexity with which spatio-temporal patterns of light can be projected onto the biological sample. Illumination with structured light represents an innovative alternative to overcome these limitations. In this experimental approach, the laser wavefront is engineered (or shaped) to simultaneously and selectively illuminate only specific regions of interest in a given field of view. This technique offers flexibility in the pattern of illumination that cannot be achieved with more traditional optical approaches and gives the opportunity of imaging/stimulating simultaneously multiple portions of a given cell or different cells within a neuronal network, or the possibility to manipulate simultaneously different object to controll the micro-enviroment around a cell.

Currently the two most commonly configurations of optical microscopy used in neuroscience laboratories are wide field illumination and laser scanning imaging. In wide field microscopy, the whole field of view is simultaneously illuminated, allowing fast image acquisition or fast repetitive stimulation, but preventing the application of complex spatial light patterns (fig. 1A). Differently, in laser scanning microscopy a diffraction limited laser spot is sequentially deflected in the field of view, allowing the selective illumination of portions of the sample that depend on the scanning trajectory (fig. 1B). This configuration leads to an increase of the spatial but to a significant loss in the time resolution of the optical system. Both approaches thus have intrinsic limitations with respect to the degree of complexity with which spatio-temporal patterns of light can be projected onto the biological sample. Illumination with structured light represents an innovative alternative to overcome these limitations. In this experimental approach, the laser wavefront is engineered (or shaped) to simultaneously and selectively illuminate only specific regions of interest in a given field of view (fig. 1C). This technique offers flexibility in the pattern of illumination that cannot be achieved with more traditional optical approaches and gives the opportunity of imaging/stimulating simultaneously multiple portions of a given cell or different cells within a neuronal network.

Structured light

Force spectroscopy

Growth cone navigation

Electrophysiology

Laser Dissection

Axon Regeneration