Tong Ye, Ph.D
Primary Department Affiliation: Neurobiology
Primary Research Area: Neuroimaging
High resolution and high sensitivity molecular imaging provides critical insights in understanding cellular and molecular interactions in living tissues. Imaging depth and molecular contrast are two essential problems that need to be solved in in vivo microscopy. Having worked in the field of ultrafast laser spectroscopy for many years, I am now focusing on developing imaging techniques that can provide increased imaging depth with abounding molecular contrasts in optical microscopy by taking advantage of achievements from nonlinear optics and laser spectroscopy. For example, one of our approaches is using near infrared ultrafast laser pulses to generate fluorescence of fluorophores through multiphoton excitation, which provides imaging depth up to 500 micron (in brain slices) with sub-micron resolution and additional benefits, such as high photo-bleach thresholds and confined photo-damages. The multiphoton fluorescence microscopy makes it possible for us to image mouse brains in vivo through thinned skulls or cranial windows. There are certainly a lot more nonlinear optical processes that can provide useful molecular contrasts in imaging; for example, second harmonic, third harmonic, coherent anti-Stocks Raman scattering and transient absorption have been explored in various cell and tissue imaging. Through the newly established Neuroimaging Core in the Alabama Neuroscience Blueprint Core Center, we will try our best to make the most advanced microscopy techniques available to the neuroscience research community.