Francesco Pavone Hot Topics presentation: Journey into the Brain: from Single Synapse to Whole Brain Anatomy by Correlative Microscopy

Presented at SPIE Photonics West 2014

04 March 2014

The study of the brain's plasticity, or its ability to change, helps to reveal how it works. The secrets of brain activity and its control of motion are hidden in the structures, the functionality and the morphology of the physical brain, notes Francesco Pavone of the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in his presentation,"Journey into the Brain: from Single Synapse to Whole Brain Anatomy by Correlative Microscopy."

We know synapses are formed through chemical interactions and electrical connections are made, Pavone says. But in order to understand the process we must examine the brain at several different scales. A cadre of optical methods such as correlative microscopy, optical manipulation, 3D tomography, confocal light sheet microscopy, and multimodal camera imaging are used to examine the brain at highly localized regions but at the multiple scales to reveal these inner workings.

Pavone is director of the international PhD program at LENS. He obtained his Laurea degree in physics at the University of Florence (Italy) in 1989. In 1993, he obtained a PhD in optics at the National Institute for Optics (Italy). In 1997, he spent 1 1/2 years as Maitre de Conférences Associe au College de France doing experimental work at the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) of Paris with Prof. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji. In 1998, he became associate professor of physics at the University of Perugia (Italy) and scientific director of the section of Atomic and Molecular Physics at LENS. Since 2004, he has been a professor of physics at the University of Florence.

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