Na Ji

Cutting Edge Session, Part 1

Wednesday, September, 29th, 2021, 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Imaging the brain at high spatiotemporal resolution

Department of Physics, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley


To understand computation in the brain, one needs to understand the input-output relationships for neural circuits and the anatomical and functional relationships of individual neurons therein. Optical microscopy has emerged as an ideal tool in this quest, as it is capable of recording the activity of neurons distributed over millimeter dimensions with sub-micron spatial resolution. I will describe how we use concepts in astronomy and optics to develop next-generation microscopy methods for imaging the brain at higher resolution, greater depth, and faster speed. By shaping the wavefront of the light, we have achieved synapse-level spatial resolution through the entire depth of the primary visual cortex, optimized microendoscopes for imaging deeply buried nuclei, and developed video-rate volumetric and kilohertz functional imaging methods. We apply these methods to understanding neural circuits, using the mouse brain as our model system


Na Ji received her B.S. in Chemical Physics from the University of Science & Technology of China in 2000. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Berkeley in 2005. She started working as a postdoctoral fellow at Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2006, before becoming a Group Leader there in 2011. She returned to Berkeley and joined the Physics and Molecular & Cell Biology Departments in 2016. She is an associate professor and the Luis Alvarez Memorial Chair in Experimental Physics.




Kilohertz two-photon fluorescence microscopy imaging of neural activity in vivo

Rapid mesoscale volumetric imaging of neural activity with synaptic resolution

Multiplexed aberration measurement for deep tissue imaging in vivo