New Faculty Q&A: Lindsey Glickfeld

November 2, 2021

Lindsey Glickfeld

One of FIP’s newest members, Lindsey Glickfeld, is an associate professor of neurobiology and a faculty network member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

After earning her undergraduate degree in biology/biological sciences from Stanford University in 2002, she earned her PhD in neuroscience at the University of San Diego. She then held a postdoctoral researcher position at Harvard Medical School before joining Duke in 2013.

Since then, her research has focused on understanding how modules within the visual cortex of mice are coordinated to support vision and guide behavior.

What projects are you pursuing in which photonics helps push the research forward, and how does photonics play a role?

The goal of my lab is to understand how visual signals in the environment are encoded by neuronal circuits in the visual cortex, and then how this information is used to guide behavior. We use two-photon calcium imaging to monitor the activity of large populations of neurons in awake, behaving animals. We currently have a number of projects in the lab taking advantage of this technology: investigating how recent history shapes encoding across visual cortical areas; interrogating the role of activity-dependent transcription in the flexibility of cortical representations; and dissecting the role of inhibitory interneurons in shaping visual encoding and perception.

What innovations in the realm of photonics within the past five years have made the largest impact on your research?

Protein biochemists in the field have made huge strides in developing new genetically-encoded indicators that are optimized for faster kinetics and reliable spike detection. This has allowed us to get a more complete picture of the temporal and spatial dynamics of cortical activity in identified cell types.

Do you foresee any emerging photonics innovations impacting your research in the next five years?

There are multiple emerging technologies for microscopy that I'm excited to build in my lab. One is a "mesoscope," which allows for larger fields of view to encompass many brain regions while retaining single cell resolution. Another is combining two-photon holography with optogenetics (an approach for light-based manipulation of the activity of individual cells) to explore the causal relationships between neuronal activity and perception.

Why did you join FIP and how do you hope your new affiliation will help your research goals?

I'm looking forward to learning more about the cutting edge photonics approaches being developed at Duke. I hope that being a part of FIP will introduce me to the amazing photonics students and faculty across Duke's campus, and foster collaborations where we can use these technologies to address key questions about brain function.