Sep 27, 2017
12:00 PM




There is currently no available technology to directly record neural activity from
the entire volume of the brain. Bioengineering efforts have propelled electrode-based
devices and optical probes, achieving nanometer scale spatial resolution and impressive
signal-to- noise ratio and temporal response; however, these techniques are invasive and
sample from very small areas in the nervous system. On the other hand, modalities such
as functional MRI (fMRI) can generate a volumetric readout from the entire brain
noninvasively, and with relatively good temporal resolution, but usually provide
information more directly related to blood flow and metabolism rather than direct
electrical or chemical neural signaling. Overcoming these shortcomings, and developing
sensing modalities for whole-brain direct recording of neural signals, will allow
neuroscientists and neurologists to study the brain network directly and as a whole—an
achievement that will surely elevate neuroscience, neurology and medicine to new
heights. I will present my research involving the development and application of injectible 
molecular probes and nanofabricated components for neuroimaging using fMRI. I will
describe recent unprecedented in-vivo fMRI measurements of cellular neurotransmitter
uptake using a specialized sensor, as well as the development of nanofabricated
electromagnetic sensors based on neuron-device interfacing for multi-site recording of
neuronal intracellular signals. These strategies enable us for the first time to perform
functional studies of neural activity across wide brain regions with molecular and
electrophysiological specificity, and pave the way towards developing novel nano-scale
sensing components for minimally-invasive whole brain recording of neural activity.
About the Speaker:

Dr. Aviad Hai is a neuroengineer and a neuroscientist with extensive expertise
and highly cited scientific contributions to the field of nanometer-scale probes for brain
imaging and recording. In his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Dr. Hai headed a team that has made unprecedented in-vivo fMRI
measurements of cellular uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin, using a specialized
sensor (Hai et al., 2016, Neuron). Together with his work on nanofabricated devices for
on-chip multi-site recording of neuronal intracellular signals (Hai et al., 2010, Nat
Methods, for review see: Spira & Hai, 2013, Nat Nanotechnology), Dr. Hai is shaping his
scientific strategy toward developing and applying novel sensors for whole-brain
recording, and guiding future researchers in cutting-edge technologies for the detection
of neural activity. Dr. Hai has won numerous awards and fellowships, and his work is
supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the European Molecular Biology
Organization (EMBO) and the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC).


Oct 04, 2017
12:00 PM
149 13th Street (Building 149), Room 2204


Synesthesia is a non-pathological variation of human perception that has contributed to foster the interest of the scientific community in the study of individual differences. Research on its neural basis has run in parallel with the development of neuroimaging techniques, which has allowed to characterize the synesthetic brain both at an anatomical and at a functional level. In this talk Dr. Melero will present phenomenological and neuroscientific data of the phenomenon, and explain the impact of synesthesia research on other areas of knowledge such as the identification of biomarkers based on MRI in neurological diseases.

About the Speaker: 

Dr. Helena Melero is a neuroscientist with more than ten years of experience in the field of synesthesia research. She works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Medical Image Analysis Laboratory at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, where she participates in several projects that apply Magnetic Resonance Imaging to the study of the brain, both in clinical and healthy populations. She is interested in olfaction, music and dance processing, and the intrinsic relationship between emotion and multisensory integration.