Most of our understanding of the brain is based on sparse correlative evidence, from which theoretical models of neural circuits functions are inferred. Testing of these functions remains difficult because of the lack of techniques to specifically manipulate the activity of neural circuits at cellular resolution and sufficiently large scales. Pioneering advances have been made thanks to holographic techniques for optogenetic stimulation of few tens of neurons in the brain of living animals, but these techniques cannot easily be scaled up.
In this project, we aim to experimentally demonstrate that light shaping and ultrafast beam pointing of single laser pulses using acousto-optic modulators enable the stimulation of several hundreds to a thousand neurons in the mouse brain.
This new technique will be used by expert teams in Paris to generate precise auditory perceptions by activations of large neural ensembles in the auditory cortex of behaving mice, and to probe functional connectivity in cerebellum during a motor behavior.