Adrian Cheng, a scientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, was
named today in Forbes' second annual "30 Under 30" list of tomorrow's
brightest stars. Cheng invented a powerful microscope technology that
can image thousands of neurons in the brain simultaneously. The
technique allows scientists to watch the working brain at unprecedented
scale and resolution, capturing images nearly ten times faster than a
Cheng, 28, received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of
California, Los Angeles where he invented the microscope technology,
called STEM (Spatio-Temporal Excitation-Emission Multiplexing), and
published the original work in the journal Nature Methods.
Traditional techniques for viewing cells in the living brain can only
capture a single cell or a handful of cells, without knowing their
identities. Cheng's new technology enables scientists to view the
location, shape, architecture, and genetic identity of entire neural
circuits in the living brain.
Now a scientist at the Allen Institute, Cheng is building imaging
capabilities for visualizing the brain at work as part of the Allen
Institute's new neural coding initiative. This large-scale,
multi-disciplinary research program aims to understand and uncover
fundamental principles governing how the brain processes information to
drive perception, behavior and other functions. Using the STEM
microscopy technique, the neural coding initiative will catch brain
circuitry in the act of translating light signals captured by the eyes
into perceptions of complex scenes and behavioral responses. In keeping
with the Allen Institute's open science research mdel, this work will
provide publicly available data, tools and resources to scientists
"This technology was built upon research efforts throughout the
microscopy, vision research, and behavioral neuroscience communities,"
said Cheng. "It's the product of a truly interdisciplinary effort."
Forbes' "30 Under 30" lists thirty amazing individuals in fifteen
categories under the age of 30 (available at www.forbes.com/under30).
Forbes collaborated with experts in diverse industries to develop a list
of 450 people under 30 who are making waves today, and who are destined
to still be shaking things up years from now. The 15 categories include
Art & Style, Education, Energy, Finance, Food & Wine, Games & Apps,
Hollywood, Law & Policy, Media, Marketing & Advertising, Music, Science
& Healthcare, Social Entrepreneurs, Sports and Technology.
Citation: Cheng et al. (2011) Simultaneous
two-photon calcium imaging at different depths with spatiotemporal
multiplexing. Nature Methods 8:139-142
About the Allen Institute for Brain Science
The Allen Institute for Brain Science (http://www.alleninstitute.org)
is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical research organization
dedicated to accelerating the understanding of how the human brain works
in health and disease. Using a team science approach, the Allen
Institute generates useful public resources used by researchers and
organizations around the globe, drives technological and analytical
advances, and discovers fundamental brain properties through integration
of experiments, modeling and theory. Launched in 2003 with a seed
contribution from founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Allen
Institute is supported by a diversity of government, foundation and
private funds to enable its projects. Given the Institute's
achievements, Mr. Allen committed an additional $300 million in 2012 for
the first four years of a ten-year plan to further propel and expand the
Institute's scientific programs, bringing his total commitment to date
to $500 million. The Allen Institute's data and tools are publicly
available online at http://www.brain-map.org.
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