Automated single-cell analysis of neurons in the living brain Event as iCalendar


30 August 2017

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground floor seminar room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds St, Auckland Central


An ABI seminar by Dr Craig Forest, Associate Professor and Woodruff Faculty Fellow, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, USA


Whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology of neurons in vivo enables the recording of electrical events in cells with great precision, and supports a wide diversity of cellular morphological and molecular analysis experiments. However, high levels of skill are required in order to perform in vivo patching, and the process is time-consuming and painstaking. An automated in vivo patching robot would not only empower a great number of neuroscientists to perform such experiments, but would also open up fundamentally new kinds of experiment enabled by the resultant high throughput. We discovered that in vivo blind whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology could be implemented as a straightforward algorithm, and developed an automated robotic system capable of performing this algorithm. Our robot achieves yields, cell recording qualities, and operational speeds that are comparable to, or exceed, those of experienced human investigators, and is simple and inexpensive to implement. Recent developments include coupling patch clamping to optogenetics, automatically recording multiple neurons simultaneously and serially, and patch clamping deep structures including mouse thalamus and brain stem.

About the Speaker

Craig Forest is an Associate Professor and Woodruff Faculty Fellow in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he also holds program faculty positions in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. He conducts research on miniaturized, high-throughput robotic instrumentation to advance neuroscience and genetic science. Prior to Georgia Tech, he was a research fellow in Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He obtained a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in June 2007, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2003, and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2001. He is cofounder/organizer of one of the largest undergraduate invention competitions in the US—The InVenture Prize, and founder/organizer of one of the largest student-run makerspaces in the US—The Invention Studio. He was a recently a Fellow in residence at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle WA; He was named Engineer of the Year in Education for the state of Georgia (2013) and was a finalist on the ABC reality TV show "American Inventor.”