Using a frame-by-frame image segmentation process to measure neuron activity

Adviser: Dr. Yiyang Gong

Summer 2017

Weekly hours: 40+

Total hours: ~400

Supervisor: ​​​​​​​Dr. Yiyang Gong

Email: yiyanggong@duke.edu

Description: Calcium imaging in neurons is a way to study individual neurons by causing each neuron to fluoresce green under one- and two-photon microscopy. My work was to write a code that could work frame-by-frame through the video, pick out individual neurons, and trach their activity over time. This, after further analysis, can lead to greater understanding of neural communication, as well as the functions of individual neurons like place cells in the brain.

Connection to reverse-engineering the brain: To reverse-engineer the brain, we need to be able to understand the function of each neuron, which means being able to view the activity of each neuron on an individual basis. The code I wrote provides the framework for a way to seek out individual neurons and track their activity across time, which will enable analysis of how groups of neurons interact with each other and lead to new insights on the wiring of the brain.