Palanker Lab

Electric phenomena mediate most of the cellular functions, most notably the neural signaling. As such, they provide a window into the neural activity, for both, the input and output of the neural networks (read-out and write-in). We study interactions of electric field (including light) with biological cells and tissues and develop their applications to neural recording, stimulation and inhibition for basic science and for practical medical applications.


In the field of optical imaging, we work on interferometric imaging of neural signals and metabolic activity in cells. Microsecond temporal resolution and sub-nanometer precision of the quantitative phase imaging opens the door to optical alternative to traditional electrophysiology, without any exogenous markers. We develop multiple biological applications of this technology, including imaging of the action potential in neurons, monitoring neural activity in the retina, and optical thermometry of single cells.

In the domain of electro-neural interfaces, we study the mechanisms of neural stimulation and inhibition, and develop photovoltaic retinal prosthesis for restoration of sight in retinal degeneration.

We also study laser-tissue interactions, including multiphoton molecular dissociation and ionization, as well as dynamics of the cellular response to hyperthermia. We develop applications of these interactions to novel surgical and therapeutic technologies, primarily in ophthalmology.

We are looking for smart and creative, motivated and independently-thinking graduate students and postdocs to work on a variety of our interdisciplinary projects.