Principal Investigator:Vincent Pieribone, PhD
Director Emeritus and Fellow
The John B. Pierce Laboratory
Research Associate, The American Museum of Natural History
Scientific Board of Directors, Mystic Aquarium and Center for Exploration
The brain uses complex and highly parallel computational paradigms to process sensory information, create and retrieve memories, and execute motor actions. The unit of this computing network is the neuron and its attendant synaptic connections. The structure and physiology of the brain makes direct study of these structures in the living organisms very difficult – neurons and synapses are tiny, very delicate, and tightly packed. Our laboratory is dedicated to the study of how neuronal circuits create behavior. However, to truly understand how the brain functions it will be necessary to develop new methods that allow the study of the functioning brain in a less invasive more informative way.
My laboratory develops and uses novel imaging techniques to study neuronal electrophysiology. We are developing genetically-encoded fluorescent probes of membrane potential. These probes are introduced into neurons as DNA constructs which will make the neuron fluorescent. This fluorescence is then modulated by the electrical activity of the neuron. We can use high speed imaging to simultaneously monitor the activity of large numbers of neurons which were previously inaccesible.
Development of genetically-encoded fluorescent probes of membrane potential – this project involves the screening of DNA constructs encoding fusions of voltage sensing protein domains with fluorescent reporters. Testing of constructs is performed in cell lines and hippocampal neurons.
Development of miniature fluorescence microscope systems for imaging fluorescent probes in vivo in rodents – we are designing a complete head-mountable, fast imaging system to image voltages signals in behaving rodents.
Identification of fluorescent proteins from the marine environment – we are searching the marine environment (coral reefs) for novel fluorescent organisms as a means of finding superior fluorescent reports for use in the laboratory.
- In live brain function, researchers are finally seeing red
- Precision "Glove-Controlled" deep-sea soft gripper
- Dr. Pieribone awarded multi-million-dollar DARPA contract to explore ways to create systems where the brain transforms digital images into the equivalent of eyesight
The following links are site related to the research in the laboratory:
Top 20 PLOS ONE Articles Based on Article-Level Metrics for 2014
We made #20! Check it out: Glowing gobies and friends
Research gate site for Vincent Pieribone
General information on our search for biofluorescent and bioluminescent animals
Pieribone, V. and Gruber D. F. (2006) “Aglow in the dark: the revolutionary science of biofluorescence.” Harvard University Press/ Belknap Press, pp 270.
Associate Research Scientist