The sense of smell is an evolutionarily primitive one, and the species that rely on it for survival are many. It isn't surprising, then, that a sophisticated neurobiology has evolved to allow for external olfactory information to be transmitted, processed and translated into behavioral responses. This is what Dr. Walter Fischler studies as a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. Richard Axel at Columbia University, using a host of elegant techniques in transgenic mice including the Inscopix in vivo imaging platform!
You can learn all about Walter's work using the nVistaᵀᴹ miniscope at his upcoming poster presentation on October 23rd at the Society for Neuroscience 2019 conference. In the meantime, read on for some insights into his work. Thank you for taking your coffee break with us, Walter, we are so honored to be supporting your work!
What do you study in the Axel lab at Columbia University?
I study how olfactory cues can create a cognitive spatial map in the hippocampus.
What are some of the circuit neuroscience techniques you use to study olfactory perception?
We perform neural recordings using calcium sensors, using transgenic Cre lines to genetically target specific cell types. We then manipulate and control neural activity using chemogenetic and optogenetic tools.
What was your first “flashing neurons” moment using Inscopix technology?
Seeing place cells light up in real time while mice learned to run on a virtual linear track!
What should we look forward to seeing from you at SfN 2019?
I am presenting a poster at SfN 2019 that shows how olfactory landmarks and path integration converge in the hippocampus. I look forward to sharing more on October 23rd at my poster session- October 23rd, Session 663, Hall A!
Imaging CA1 pyramidal cells using nVista 2.0 while mice navigate to a water reward in a virtual environment using only sparse olfactory landmarks (blue = limonene).
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever been given?
Try to always remember that in the end, it's all science- something we love doing.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the lab?
I enjoy going to all the great art museums and theaters in NYC!
Make sure to check out Walter's poster at SfN 2019, and come see nVista & all of our other products at the Inscopix booth #507. 😊