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Madeleine Howell

Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona | Graduation Date: Spring 2020
Materials Science & Engineering

A combined optical and electrical probe for electrophysiology

Mentor: Barbara Smith
FURI: Fall 2018

Electrical recordings of individual neurons deep within the brain are key to enhancing our understanding of neuronal dynamics. Unfortunately, optical microscopy, which is used to visualize neurons during the recording process, is limited to penetration depths of 500 to 1000 μm due to the optical scattering properties of biological tissues. This research uses an integrated optical waveguide and electrical probe, in the form of a pulled-glass micropipette (PMP) to direct light into tissues and transmit the resulting emission. This new tool offers a means of visualizing neurons at depths unachievable by conventional optical microscopy and carries great potential for automation.