CBE/ENGR 225 Faculty Seminar Series Presents: Jackson Travis Del Bonis-O'Donnell, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Berkeley, Tues., March 6, 2018

Tuesday, March 6, 2018, ESB #2001

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

ESB 2001


*Light refreshments will be provided*


Jackson Travis Del Bonis-O’Donnell, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

University of California, Berkeley


Host: Deborah Fygenson

Imaging Brain Chemistry at the Nanoscale: Nanomaterial-Based Optical Sensors for Visualizing Neurotransmission


Non-invasive methods to directly image neurotransmission at a molecular level will transform our ability to study and understand the brain and mental health. Specifically, technologies enabling the visualization of neurotransmission at the synaptic level across many neurons with high temporal resolution will provide a crucial step towards discovering the emergent properties of neural circuits. Nanomaterials with characteristic sizes comparable to the synapse (~10 nm) are poised to provide promising platforms for engineering new tools for neuroscience. In this talk, I will discuss strategies for engineering optically-active nanomaterials, including silver nanoclusters and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT), to develop high-sensitivity sensors for detecting modulatory neurotransmitters. The physical, chemical and optical properties of these nanosensors, such as near-infrared fluorescence, overcome many of the challenges inherent to imaging in brain tissue. Additionally, we show that SWNT nanosensors exhibit large two-photon cross sections, enabling their use for deep-tissue, two-photon microscopy to detect the neurotransmitter dopamine. Lastly, I will describe our recent progress towards using these nanosensors to directly visualize dopamine release at the synaptic level in ex vivo brain slice and in vivo.