Membrane potential is a unique biophysical property maintained by every cell on earth. The importance of membrane potential is widely recognized in the context of specialized organs like the brain and the heart. Yet, our understanding of the ways in which membrane potential, and its coordinated, rapid changes across large numbers of neurons, gives rise to cognition, sensation, and memory remain woefully incomplete. Conversely, outside the context of the brain or heart, in non-electrically excitable cells, the contributions membrane voltage makes to fundamental cell physiology, like cell cycle, differentiation, and disease transformation remain underappreciated. My lab is pioneering new fluorescent dyes that respond directly to membrane potential and provide a non-invasive, readily implemented, and high-throughput method to measure voltage. I will discuss our development and application of fluorescent indicators to explore relationships between molecular identity and membrane potential in the brain and beyond.
Speaker: Evan Miller, UC Berkeley
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