Adelaide scientist wins ‘bronze’ at global neurophotonics event

Mengke Han - IPAS

A mini-project to map the hearing capability of zebrafish has won School of Physical Sciences’ PhD student Mengke Han third prize at the global Frontiers in Neurophotonics’ summer school.

Mengke (pictured) represented Australia at the event, where researchers and students spent 10 days discovering the latest advances in live cell optical imaging techniques.

With an undergraduate degree in biology and a masters in physics, Mengke’s current PhD research is investigating the development of voltage-sensitive nanoparticles for real-time monitoring of brain activity. Her prize winning mini-project involved an emerging process known as two-photon microscopy.

“We used a relatively new and very powerful imaging technique called two-photon microscopy, to map the brain and neurons of living zebrafish,” Mengke says.

“Zebrafish are small and transparent, so they are a convenient species to study in the lab.

“But everything we learn about zebrafish ear development and function, can be applied to human medicine. 

“We can even test human genes in a zebrafish to see what influence they might have on hearing problems.”

Mengke Han - IPAS experiment setup

Mengke Han's experiment setup

Mengke is based at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and School of Physical Sciences. She is also member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).

'Frontiers in Neurophotonics' in Quebec, Canada, brought some the world’s brightest minds together to discuss and discover the latest advances in live cell optical imaging techniques put in perspective by experimental challenges in the field of neuroscience.  With a focus on the up-close workings of the nervous system, the school combined tutorials and hands-on experiments, delivered by experts in photonics and neuroscience.

Tagged in Research, School of Physical Sciences, Physics, Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing - IPAS