A miniature multi-contrast microscope for functional imaging in freely behaving animals

Janaka Senarathna, Hang Yu, Callie Deng, Alice L. Zou, John B. Issa, Darian H. Hadjiabadi, Stacy Gil, Qihong Wang, Betty M. Tyler, Nitish V. Thakor, Arvind P. Pathak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Neurovascular coupling, cerebrovascular remodeling and hemodynamic changes are critical to brain function, and dysregulated in neuropathologies such as brain tumors. Interrogating these phenomena in freely behaving animals requires a portable microscope with multiple optical contrast mechanisms. Therefore, we developed a miniaturized microscope with: a fluorescence (FL) channel for imaging neural activity (e.g., GCaMP) or fluorescent cancer cells (e.g., 9L-GFP); an intrinsic optical signal (IOS) channel for imaging hemoglobin absorption (i.e., cerebral blood volume); and a laser speckle contrast (LSC) channel for imaging perfusion (i.e., cerebral blood flow). Following extensive validation, we demonstrate the microscope’s capabilities via experiments in unanesthetized murine brains that include: (i) multi-contrast imaging of neurovascular changes following auditory stimulation; (ii) wide-area tonotopic mapping; (iii) EEG-synchronized imaging during anesthesia recovery; and (iv) microvascular connectivity mapping over the life-cycle of a brain tumor. This affordable, flexible, plug-and-play microscope heralds a new era in functional imaging of freely behaving animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number99
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'A miniature multi-contrast microscope for functional imaging in freely behaving animals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this