Optics and the Brain

02 April 2017 – 05 April 2017 Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, California United States

The US BRAIN initiative and European Human Brain Project in Europe have recognized that gaining a better understanding the brain is a critical frontier in science and medicine. These initiatives have identified the urgent need for new technologies that can probe the working brain, across all levels from single neurons to entire behaving organisms. Optics offers a unique toolkit for multiscale imaging the living and intact brain, while new genetic labeling strategies provide optical contrast to neural function and optogenetics permits the control of cellular function with light. Optics and the Brain is thus an important, highly interdisciplinary area of research that combines broad aspects of neuroscience, biology, medicine, physics, chemistry and engineering.
This conference will bring together researchers working in all aspects of optics in the brain and will serve as a forum for discussion of existing and emerging techniques as well as future directions capable of shedding new light on the healthy and diseased brain.

  • Superresolution and structural microscopy of the nervous system
  • Functional microscopy and optical imaging
  • Analyzing circuitry, network function, and information processing
  • Optics and Brain Disease
  • Optogenetics and novel reporters
  • Tissue scattering and clearing
  • Hybrid and multimodality approaches to neuroimaging
  • Dissemination and commercialization of BRAIN technologies
Kwanghun Chung, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyTowards Holistic Imaging and Phenotyping of Intact Biological Systems, Invited

Michael Crair, Yale UniversityUnited StatesTitle to be Announced, Invited

Kevin Eliceiri, University of WisconsinUnited StatesTitle to be Announced, Invited

Viviana Gradinaru, California Institute of TechnologyUnited StatesOn Brain Circuits and Tools: Switches for Locomotion, Reward, and a Viral-based Approach to Non-invasive Whole-brain Cargo Delivery, Invited

Ute Hochgeschwender, Central Michigan UniversityUnited StatesBioluminescence-driven Optogenetics, Invited

Na Ji, Howard Hughes Medical InstituteUnited StatesProbe Neural Circuits with Shaped Light, Invited

David Kleinfeld, University of California San DiegoUnited StatesToward Deep, Routine Mutiphoton Imaging in the Brain, Invited

Dorian McGavern, Nat Inst of Neuro Disorders and StrokeUnited StatesTitle to be Announced, Invited

Tim Ragan, Tissue Vision, Inc.United StatesTitle to be Announced, Invited

Balazs Rozsa, Inst Exp Medicine, Hungarian Acad SciFast 3D imaging of neuronal coding in spine, dendritic, and neuronal assemblies in the visual cortex of behaving animals , Invited

Mark Schnitzer, Stanford UniversityUnited StatesOptical Imaging of Large-scale Neural Codes and Voltage Dynamics in Behaving Animals, Invited

Mikhail Shapiro, California Institute of TechnologyUnited StatesBiomolecular Engineering of Reporters and Sensors for Noninvasive Imaging of Cellular Function, Invited

Andy Shih, Medical University of South CarolinaUnited StatesOptical Imaging and Manipulation of Brain Microvessels, Invited

Spencer Smith, Univ of North Carolina at Chapel HillUnited StatesMultiphoton Imaging Across Large Brain Volumes with Subcellular Resolution, Invited

Vivek Srinivasan, University of California DavisUnited StatesInterferometric Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (iNIRS) Monitors Optical Properties and Blood Flow In Vivo, Invited

Francois St Pierre, Baylor College of MedicineUnited StatesTwo-photon imaging of neuronal voltage dynamics using genetically encoded voltage indicators, Invited

Ilaria Testa, KTH Royal Institute of TechnologyTitle to be Announced, Invited

Hiroki Ueda, The University of TokyoWhole-body and whole-organ clearing and imaging with single-cell resolution, Invited

Alipasha Vaziri, Rockefeller UniversityTitle to be Announced, Invited

Ofer Yizhar, Weizmann Institute of ScienceIsraelOptogenetic Interrogation of Local and Long-range Synaptic Connections, Invited

Hongkui Zeng, Allen Institute for Brain ScienceCell Type-based Brain-wide Connectomics , Invited

Sarah Stanley, Mount Sinai School of MedicineUnited States


Elizabeth Hillman, Columbia University, United States
Francesco Pavone, European Lab for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, Italy

Vice Chair

Daniel Côté, Universite Laval, Canada
Joseph Culver, Washington University in St Louis, United States


1. Superresolution and Structural Microscopy of the Nervous System
Valentin Nägerl, Bordeaux UniversityFrance, Subcommittee Chair
Raju Tomer, Columbia University, USA

2. Functional Microscopy and Optical Imaging
Emiliani Valentina, Neurophotonics LaboratoryFrance, Subcommittee Chair
Emmanuel Beaurepaire, Centre National Recherche Scientifique, France
Anna Devor, University of California San Diego, USA
Chris B. Schaffer, Cornell University, USA

3. Analyzing Circuitry, Network Function, and Information Processing
Tim Murphy, University of British Columbia, Canada, Subcommittee Chair
Takaki Komiyama, University of California San Diego, USA
Alipasha Vaziri, Rockefeller University, USA
Jack Waters, Allen Institute for Brain Science, USA

4. Optogenetics and Novel Reporters
Shy Shoham, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, Subcommittee Chair
Hillel Adesnik, University of California Berkeley, USA
Larry Cohen, Yale University, USA

5. Tissue Scattering and Clearing
Viviana Gradinaru, California Institute of TechnologyUSA, Subcommittee Chair
Ali Erturk, University of Munich, Germany
Hiroki Ueda, University of Tokyo, Japan

6. Optics and Brain Disease
Hod Dana, HHMI – Janelia Farm Research CampusUnited States, Subcommittee Chair
Dimitrios Davalos, Cleveland Clinic, USA
Clare Elwell, University College of London, UK
Charles P. Lin, Harvard University, USA
Minah Suh, Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea

Hybrid and Multimodality Approaches to Neuroimaging
Daniel Razansky, Technical University of MunichGermany, Subcommittee Chair
Frederic Leblond, Polytechnique Montreal, Canada
Hao F. Zhang, Northwestern University, USA

8. Dissemination and Commercialization of BRAIN Technologies
Leonard Khiroug, Neurotar Ltd, Finland, Subcommittee Chair
Chris Rex, Afraxis, USA
Balazs Rozsa, Femtonics, Hungary
Yasaman Soudagar, Neurescence, Canada

Student & Early Career Professional Development & Networking Program

Monday, 3 April, 12:00–13:30
Catalina Ballroom, Upper Level/Fourth Floor

Join us for an interactive lunch and learn program focused on professional development within the Bio Photonics field. This program will engage students and early career professionals with the key leaders in the field who will share their professional development journey and provide useful tips to those who attend. The program is complimentary for OSA Members and lunch will be provided.

Sponsored by 

Welcome Reception with Exhibitors

Monday, 3 April, 18:00–19:30
Fairbanks Ballroom, Lobby Level

Join your fellow attendees for the Congress Reception. Enjoy delectable fare while networking. The reception is open to committee/presenting author/student and full conference attendees. Conference attendees may purchase extra tickets for their guest.

Grant Writing Workshop for Young Investigators

Tuesday, 4 April, 07:00 – 08:30
Catalina Ballroom, Upper Level/Fourth Floor

Join the leaders of the OSA Tissue Imaging and Spectroscopy Technical Group, Paul Campagnola and Kyle Quinn, for a workshop aimed at helping young investigators develop competitive grant proposals. The workshop will cover how to properly construct a specific aims page for National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health grants, with both good and bad examples being provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their own grant proposals to the workshop as assistance in reviewing and improving the proposals will be offered. An RSVP is required for this technical group event as breakfast will be provided. Contact TGactivities@osa.org to register, pending availability.

Sponsored by

Strategies for Commercialization and Dissemination of Non-Clinical Optical Technologies

Tuesday, 4 April, 12:15–14:00
Catalina Ballroom, Upper Level/Fourth Floor

This panel discussion and networking luncheon will discuss and debate the best ways to get your latest invention into the hands of other researchers and end-users. Although the path for medical technologies involves complex clinical trials and FDA approval, technologies for research applications such as microscopes and fluorescent proteins can be much more rapidly translated and can provide rapid, high impact for scientific research. There are many approaches: in-lab support, open-source dissemination, start-ups, or licensing, each with their own pros and cons. After an introduction to the topic we will hear viewpoints and experiences from a range of successful translators and industry experts followed by a panel discussion. There will then be an opportunity for small group discussions and networking. Students and post-docs welcome! A free lunch will be provided to the first group of attendees.

Joint Poster Session

Tuesday, 4 April, 15:30 - 17:00
Fairbanks Ballroom

Posters are an integral part of the technical program and offer a unique networking opportunity, where presenters can discuss their results one-to-one with interested parties. Each author is provided with a board on which to display the summary and results of his or her paper.

OSA Optical Trapping and Manipulation in Molecular and Cellular Biology Technical Group Networking Event

Tuesday, 4 April 2017, 18:00–19:00
Catalina Ballroom, Upper Level/Fourth Floor

Join members of the Optical Trapping and Manipulation in Molecular and Cellular Biology Technical Group for a chance to learn more about this group while connecting with your peers and colleagues in the community over refreshments. Steven Neale and Peter Reece, who lead this OSA Technical Group, will be hosting this networking event for members on Tuesday evening. An RSVP is requested for this technical group event; please contact TGactivities@osa.org to register.

Sponsored by 

Bridging Medicine and Biomedical Technology: Enhancing Translation of Fundamental Research to Patient Care Special Session

Wednesday, 5 April, 08:30–10:00
Bel Aire Ballroom Ballroom, Lobby Level

This special all-congress session will briefly introduce the fundamentals of translational research and highlight, through two examples of important clinical problems, the challenges to overcome by physician scientists in order to identify, develop and bring to clinical practice novel biomedical technologies that provide relevant solutions.
One example in dermatology features the development of novel diagnostics for cellulitis. Cellulitis is a common and costly bacterial infection of the skin. Currently there are no objective diagnostics and therefore diagnosis depends on clinical exam alone. However, due to the many clinical mimics of cellulitis, misdiagnosis of cellulitis occurs in over one-third of patients. The misdiagnosis of cellulitis leads to unnecessary hospitalization, overuse of antibiotics, and over half a billion dollars in spending per year. Strategic approaches to develop novel diagnostics include non-invasive optical techniques and minimally invasive skin sampling, however significant technical challenges remain.

The other example in ophthalmology presents a new surgical procedure to prevent the development of high myopia. Briefly, the mechanism behind high myopia is an over-elongation of the eye during its growth period. This elongation can be halted by modulating the biomechanical properties of the growing sclera - in particular, by inducing crosslinks in the extracellular matrix. Several approaches have been made to induce those scleral crosslinks, all with certain difficulties.

The panel discussion that will conclude the session will give an opportunity for audience to ask questions and engage the dialogue with other participants and the speakers. 

Steven Chu
Stanford University, USA

Steven ChuNew Probes and Approaches to Optical, Electron Microscopy and Future Applications

We will discuss our development of rare earth and diamond nanoparticle probes to visualize the molecular organization of multiple proteins in cells and tissue. With SEM/cathodoluminescence imaging, we want to identify interacting proteins with cellular ultrastructure such as cellular membranes, organelles, synapses and vesicles.

Bio: Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology in the Medical School at Stanford University. His has published over 275 papers in atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology, batteries, and holds 11 patents. Currently, he is developing new optical nanoparticle probes for applications in biology and biomedicine, exploring new approaches to lithium ion batteries, PM2.5 air filtration and other applications of nanotechnology.

Dr. Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy from January 2009 until the end of April 2013. As the first scientist to hold a Cabinet position and the longest serving Energy Secretary, he recruited outstanding scientists and engineers into the Department of Energy. He began several initiatives including ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), the Energy Innovation Hubs, the U.S. – China Clean Energy Research Centers (CERC), and was personally tasked by President Obama to assist BP in stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.

Prior to his cabinet post, he was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. Previously he was the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. He helped launch Bio-X at Stanford University, a multi-disciplinary institute combining the physical and biological sciences with medicine and engineering, and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. Previously he was head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Dr. Chu has dozens of awards including the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics contributions to laser cooling and atom trapping. He has 29 honorary degrees and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academia Sinica, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology.

Subra Suresh
Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Subra SureshCell Biophysics and Human Diseases

This presentation will examine how properties of biological cells influence human diseases, and vice versa, from the perspectives of biophysics and bioengineering.  Experimental and computational results will be presented along with specific examples in the context of infectious diseases, hereditary blood disorders, and human cancers.

Bio: Subra Suresh is the President of Carnegie Mellon University where he holds faculty appoints in the College of Engineering, Heinz College of Public Policy and Management, and the School of Computer Science.  A former Director of the National Science Foundation and recipient of 11 honorary doctorate degrees, Suresh is an elected member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine along with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.  Suresh is the author/coauthor of over 250 journal articles and co-inventor in 25 patent applications involving research at the intersections of engineering, science and medicine, particularly into the mechanical behavior of engineered materials and the effects of cell properties on human diseases.

Laura Waller
University of California Berkeley, USA

Laura WallerComputational Microscopy for High-Throughput Science

Computational microscopy involves joint design of imaging system hardware and software, optimizing across the entire pipeline from acquisition to reconstruction. This talk will describe methods for fast acquisition and Gigapixel-scale image reconstruction with simple and inexpensive optics.

Bio: Laura Waller is the Ted Van Duzer Endowed Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) at UC Berkeley, a Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Institute of Data Science, and affiliate in Bioengineering and Applied Sciences & Technology. She was a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer of Physics at Princeton University from 2010-2012 and received B.S., M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in EECS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2004, 2005 and 2010, respectively. She is recipient of the Moore Foundation Data-Driven Investigator Award, Bakar Fellowship, Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award, Agilent Early Career Profeessor Award Finalist, NSF CAREER Award and Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering.