|Research Fields||Bioelectronics, glia-neuron interaction|
|Academic Society Membership||Materials Research Society、Society for Neuroscience|
Brain makes us human. To fully understand how our brain works, we need technologies that can interface with delicate brain tissues with minimal elicited tissue response and probe brain activities across their multiple signaling mechanisms. Leveraging the thermal drawing process, conventionally used in the telecommunication industry to produce optical fibers, I worked at both MIT and Virginia Tech in my graduate studies and have together developed multifunctional fibers with optical, electrical and chemical modalities, yet maintained its flexibility and overall size comparable to human hairs. In addition, I also further combined fibers with the field-effect based biochemical sensors for realizing deep brain imaging. Such advancement in technological development opens a new window that allows us to look into brain functions in unprecedented detail.
Joining in the FRIS, I would like to further extend the functional boundary of such fibers to resolve biological questions. My primary interest lies in achieving better understanding of the role of astrocytes in the diseased brain, particularly mental disorders, with the aid of multifunctional fibers.
Astrocytes are the most abundant cells in the brain, which have been considered merely as neuronal cement. Emerging discoveries suggest astrocytes are actively involved in all facets of normal brain function, while their disrupted function underlies various brain disorders, such as epilepsy, anxiety/depression, and neurodevelopmental disorders. My main ongoing projects are aimed at understanding how astrocytes contribute to mental disorders, particularly anxiety. I am utilizing multifunctional fibers which facilitate in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, fiber photometry and pharmacological analysis into our originally generated transgenic mouse models. Elucidating astrocytic involvement in pathological brain will revolutionize our understanding of astrocytes and further pave the way for developing ground-breaking and targeted therapeutic strategies.