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This image of a cultured hippocampal neuron expressing the calcium sensor GCaMP6s was submitted by Thomas Chater. The GCaMP6s was fused to Lifeact, in order to localise the calcium sensor to regions rich in actin, such as the postsynaptic synaptic compartment. Left image is the integrated activity of the neuron over a few minutes. The other panels show the synaptic activity coloured-coded depending on its timing.

Thomas studied at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to the University of Bristol to do a PhD. Now, he works at RIKEN in the Centre for Brain Science, Japan, in the Laboratory of Synaptic Plasticity and Connectivity. Here, he studies synaptic dynamics, primarily using confocal and 2 photon imaging, combined with glutamate uncaging and electrophysiology, to monitor and elicit synaptic plasticity at defined inputs. His research focuses on how neurons regulate the strength and number of synapses across their dendritic arbors, and how changes in strength at active synapses can modulate nearby inactive neighbours.

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Updated on 15 September 2021