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Dr. Amanda Foust

Recording and manipulating neural activity with holographically sculpted light

Amanda J Foust is a Research Fellow in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. She began optical neurotechnology research early as a student at Washington State University. Mentored by Prof. David Rector, Amanda pioneered improvements to systems and analyses for imaging the intrinsic optical correlates of action potential propagation. From these studies Amanda published seven peer-reviewed articles while completing a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum in neuroscience, physics, electricalengineering, computer science, and mathematics. Amanda then completed MPhil and PhD degrees at Yale University supervised by David McCormick, adapting and applying recent advances in voltage-sensitive dye microscopy to discover how action potentials propagate through cortical neuron axons with high fidelity. She then won a NSF International Research Fellowship to retrain in Fourier optics with Prof. Valentina Emiliani in Paris, France. Amanda optimized holographic light-shaping technology to demonstrate, for the first time, that sculpting light directly onto structures of interest can enhance the spatial specificity and signal-to-noise of functional fluorescence recordings. Amanda then co-wrote a funding bid to the US NIH B.R.A.I.N. Initiative to establish a consortium to adapt and optimize holographic light shaping for neuronal applications in-vitro and in-vivo. She holds a five-year Research Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.