Davi Bock, Ph. D.
Research Associate Professor
Department of Neurological Sciences
Larner College of Medicine
University of Vermont
Large-scale electron microscopy for analysis of neuronal circuits
To understand how neuronal circuits process and transform information, a necessary — but certainly insufficient! -- ingredient is the wiring diagram of the neurons and the synaptic connections between them. In the last decade, electron microscopy (EM)-based approaches have achieved sufficient scale that these connectivity maps, or “connectomes”, can now be generated . In this talk I will introduce one EM approach, serial section TEM (ssTEM), and describe several milestone datasets, including the complete brain of an adult fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. I will also describe a recent finding of unexpected network structure in fly memory circuits, along with implications for information processing and behavior. Future directions in (1) mining the increasing number of publicly available connectomic datasets, and (2) applying large-scale EM methods to other structurally interesting targets, such as ciliated protists, will also be briefly discussed.