My research also uses in vivo two-photon imaging of structure and function to study how song circuits are organized and how they change during the song learning process.
These methods involve longitudinal imaging of dendritic spines, axons and functional activity using calcium indicators in living birds. They provide unprecedented access to the neural circuits underlying song learning and permit the study of structure function relationships during a natural form of behavioral learning.
The above videos show in vivo two-photon z-stack images of virally labeled HVC neurons taken from juvenile male zebra finches:
- Left: high-resolution z-stack images of dendritic spines on a branch of an HVC neuron projecting to the striatum.
- Right: population of HVC neurons projecting to the striatum. The z-stack starts 450 microns deep in the HVC.