Maki Koike-Tani was trained as an electrophysiologist through her graduate school and postdoctoral studies on the roles of glutamate receptors for modulating synaptic transmission during the development of central nervous system. She received her PhD from Gunma University School of Medicine, Japan, in 2000. After postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at the University of Tokyo, she joined Hokkaido University as a faculty member and started fluorescent single molecule imaging in combination with her electrophysiological approaches. Specifically, by using these techniques, she has been studying how locally secreted neurotrophic factors organize 3D architecture of neural systems in the developing cerebellum. In 2011 she joined the Cellular Dynamics Program at the MBL as an Assistant Research Scientist. Taking advantage of label-free imaging, established at the MBL, she has started new approaches to develop non-invasive imaging of neural activity by the use of polarized light microscopy.