Movement Disorders Program
Home.Facilities.Faculty.Clinical Trials.Patient Resources.Research.Contribute.Fellowship.

Carlos Portera-Cailliau, M.D., Ph.D


Imaging the assembly and plasticity of cortical circuits with two-photon microscopy

How are cortical circuits established during brain development? What are the mechanisms of structural and functional plasticity triggered by neurodegeneration (e.g., stroke, Parkinson disease)?

We want to answer these and other questions about cortical development and plasticity using 2-photon microscopy in vivo and in brain slices together with electrophysiology and molecular biology.

One goal is to investigate the mechanisms of synaptogenesis and how dendritic filopodia mature into dendritic spines, which has implications for various neuropsychiatric disorders such as fragile X syndrome. Here we use 2-photon imaging in vivo and image transgenic mice that express the green fluorescent protein (GFP). We also use in utero electroporation to transfect neural progenitors with GFP or other genes of interest.

Another project is aimed at understanding how coordinated neuronal activity arises within developing networks of neurons in cortex and how activity may be affected by Parkinson disease. We use in vivo 2-photon calcium imaging to record and analyze the spatiotemporal patterns of activity within ensembles of neurons, as measured with fluorescent calcium indicator dyes such as Oregon green BAPTA-1AM or Fluo-4 AM.

We are also interested in mechanisms of plasticity and neural repair in peri-infarct cortex after stroke. Using a middle cerebral artery occlusion model of stroke in mice, we carry out chronic in vivo imaging of dendritic spines and axons over periods of months in GFP-expressing mice to find out which neuronal structures participate in functional recovery after stroke.


 Carlos Portera-Cailliau, MD-PhD

Assistant Professor


Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology


710 Westwood Plaza

Los Angeles, CA 90095


Tel. 310-206 4396Fax. 310-206 9819




UCLA Neurology - #1 in NIH Funding



Copyright © All rights reserved made by UCLA Movement Disorder Program
Allan Wu, M.D.
Jeff Bronstein, M.D. Ph.D
Carlos Portera-Calliau, M.D. Ph.D