I have been working on some technical improvements for my experiments. For one side of my project, myself and Karin have been trying to acquire funds for a new objective lens for the departmental confocal microscope. We recently got the exciting news that our funding application has been successful, meaning that soon we will be able to image the entire 3D volume of the hoverfly brain at high resolution. I would like to thank the College of Medicine and Public Health Resource Committee for approving our application, and our fellow researchers who assisted in making this application.
On the other side of my project, I have been working on options for performing extracellular recordings from neurons in the hoverfly optic lobe. Up until now all my recordings have used intracellular techniques, which comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Having the option of quickly switching between intracellular and extracellular recording techniques depending on the goal of a given experiment should speed up my data collection process going forward, and should also open up some new experimental opportunities. The new adaptor system that I have designed should allow me to convert my rig from an intracellular set-up to an extracellular set-up in just a few seconds, without having to adjust the position or angles of my animal, screen, electrodes or microscope.
I have also been playing with some ideas for devices to facilitate the positioning and immobilising our hoverflies during our electrophysiological and behavioural experiments. Hopefully these devices will materialise, and allow me to perform some interesting new experiments.
Finally, a preprint of a paper from my PhD has gone live in the recent weeks, investigating the neuroanatomical organisation of the dragonfly optic lobe. You can find it here (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.10.087437v1.abstract).