Our human brain consists of more than a billion neural cells that process information, including sensation and cognition. Each neuron works like a simple processor and only their massive interaction and parallel processing make the brain's abilities possible. Understanding how neural networks work and thus employing the methodology to inspire artificial intelligence, is one of the significant subjects in modern-day science. Lingjie Kong, an associate professor at the Department of Precision Instrument at Tsinghua University, is keen on inventing new techniques and instruments to overcome this challenge.
Patch-clamp recording is a traditional way to observe brain activity, but it is invasive and of low spatial resolution. Kong has developed several novel neuroimaging tools for recording neuronal network activity in conscious animals. For example, he and his collaborators have invented a macroscope of sub-micron-resolution with the largest field-of-view (centimeter scale) and the highest throughput (GB/s) worldwide, which enables real-time imaging of whole-brain activity in vivo. Analyzing the statistical data obtained through these methods can help reveal the mechanisms of the brain and inspire the development of artificial intelligence. So far, Kong and his team have helped several leading labs around the world in duplicating the systems for their brain research.