NEMALOAD is split into four stages:
- In the molecular biology stage, we make transgenic strains of worms with neurons that can be optically imaged and perturbed, using optogenetic techniques including genetically encoded calcium indicators, optostimulators, and possibly
* depending on the empirically determined constraints of spectral separationoptoinhibitors.
- In the imaging stage, we build a light-field microscope capable of resolving individual neurons while tracking a freely behaving worm as it moves within a plate.
- In the perturbation stage, we develop a two-photon digital holography system (integrated with the microscope constructed in the previous stage) which will be capable of targeting individual neurons for optostimulation or optoinhibition (i.e., for molecular excitation at a selected wavelength).
- In the final stage, modeling, we will use the tools built above to implement interrogation (i.e., random-access read and write) of the C. elegans nervous system, and build an automated experimental design (a.k.a. active learning) system which uses the interrogator to infer a dynamic model. We then embed the dynamic model in a simulated environment, and verify that it behaves like the real worm in its real environment.