ECE Seminar

Towards novel optical imaging techniques with applications in ophthalmology and vision science

Francesco LaRoccaPostdoctoral ScholarUniversity of California, Berkeley School of Optometry

Visual signals are significantly processed and filtered well before reaching the brain by a complex arrangement of neurons within the retina. While much progress has been made in analyzing retinal neurons within vitrotechniques and intracellular electrical recordings, these methods are highly-invasive and thus limited in their ability to relate neural activity to human perception. Optical imaging has emerged as the ideal solution to this problem, as it can non-invasively measure the three-dimensional cellular structure of the retina with micron-scale resolution as well as selectively stimulate individual neurons and assess depth-resolved function. I will describe how we use and build upon concepts in astronomy, microscopy, and psychophysics to develop the next-generation of ophthalmic imaging tools to achieve microscopic views of the retina in clinically viable systems and optically measure electrical activity from individual neurons within the living human eye.
Francesco LaRocca received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2016. His graduate work, under the mentorship of Prof. Joseph Izatt, was in the areas of biophotonics and biomedical optics and resulted in the development of novel handheld, multimodal, and super-resolved optical imaging systems for clinical applications in ophthalmology. In 2016, he joined the UC Berkeley School of Optometry under Prof. Austin Roorda where he has shifted his focus towards vision science and aspires to disentangle the neural circuitry of the retina by using and developing techniques in adaptive optics, high-speed motion correction, and phase-sensitive interferometry.

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