The Cai Laboratory develops and uses interdisciplinary techniques to study the development and fine tuning of neural circuits in the mouse brain.
The Spectral Connectome
A connectome is a comprehensive map of neural connections in the brain. We aim to obtain the mouse connectome, in order to understand how excitatory and inhibitory connections contribute to brain activity balance and how connection abnormality causes neurological diseases using Brainbow neuron labeling as a primary tool.
Neural lineage ⬌ circuit
Currently we are developing novel labeling reagents to allow unambiguous identification of a large number of neural lineages. We aim to gain insight into mechanisms of neural lineage differentiation and lineage-dependent assembly of micro-circuits in the mouse brain.
Optical and computational tools
We use and develop advanced imaging techniques, including multi-color two-photon microscopy to obtain connectome data from intact mouse brain. We also develop computer software to trace uniquely colored neurons and to reconstruct dense neural circuits at the level of synapse resolution.