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Latest Optogenetics Stories

2011-06-30 01:42:39

Using a combination of genetic engineering and laser technology, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have manipulated brain wiring responsible for reward-seeking behaviors, such as drug addiction. The work, conducted in rodent models, is the first to directly demonstrate the role of these specific connections in controlling behavior. The UNC study, published online on June 29, 2011, by the journal Nature, uses a cutting-edge technique called "optogenetics" to tweak...

2011-05-03 14:54:11

F1000 Biology Reports takes a look at the story behind the invention of optogenetics Commenting on Edward Boyden's article, Ben Barres, Head of the Neuronal & Glial Cell Biology Section of Faculty of 1000 and Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine said: "There will probably be a Nobel prize for optogenetics someday as it has revolutionized our attempts to understand how the brain works. This article provides a fascinating insight into the birth of optogenetics and the roles...

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2011-03-10 13:59:11

Study uses NSF-supported technology to identify neuronal circuitry A new study sheds light--both literally and figuratively--on the intricate brain cell connections responsible for anxiety. Scientists at Stanford University recently used light to activate mouse neurons and precisely identify neural circuits that increase or decrease anxiety-related behaviors. Pinpointing the origin of anxiety brings psychiatric professionals closer to understanding anxiety disorders, the most common class of...

2011-03-09 16:32:53

Stimulation of a distinct brain circuit that lies within a brain structure typically associated with fearfulness produces the opposite effect: Its activity, instead of triggering or increasing anxiety, counters it. That's the finding in a paper by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers to be published online March 9 in Nature. In the study, Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, and his colleagues employed a mouse model to show that stimulating activity exclusively in this circuit enhances...

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2011-03-05 11:16:08

'Out of the blue' discovery marks new direction in phototransduction studiesA UC Irvine research team led by Todd C. Holmes has discovered a second form of phototransduction light sensing in cells that is derived from vitamin B2. This discovery may reveal new information about cellular processes controlled by light.For more than 100 years, it had been believed that the phototransduction process was solely based on a chemical derived from vitamin A called retinal. Phototransduction is the...

2011-01-18 22:12:09

Scientists commandeer a freely moving organism's nervous system without wires or electrodes Physicists and bioengineers have developed an optical instrument allowing them to control the behavior of a worm just by shining a tightly focused beam of light at individual neurons inside the organism. The pioneering optogenetic research, by a team at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is described this week in the journal Nature...

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2011-01-17 10:38:09

Researchers are using inexpensive components from ordinary liquid crystal display (LCD) projectors to control the brain and muscles of tiny organisms, including freely moving worms. Red, green and blue lights from a projector activate light-sensitive microbial proteins that are genetically engineered into the worms, allowing the researchers to switch neurons on and off like light bulbs and turn muscles on and off like engines. Use of the LCD technology to control small animals advances the...

2010-10-18 13:35:19

Harvard University neurobiologists have created mice that can "smell" light, providing a potent new tool that could help researchers better understand the neural basis of olfaction. The work, described this week in the journal Nature Neuroscience, has implications for the future study of smell and of complex perception systems that do not lend themselves to easy study with traditional methods. "It makes intuitive sense to use odors to study smell," says Venkatesh N. Murthy, professor of...

2010-09-27 14:04:40

Researchers at Stanford University were able to use light to induce normal patterns of muscle contraction, in a study involving bioengineered mice whose nerve-cell surfaces are coated with special light-sensitive proteins. The new approach allows scientists to more accurately reproduce muscle firing order, making it a valuable research tool. The investigators, from Stanford's Schools of Medicine and of Engineering, also believe this technique could someday spawn practical applications, from...

2010-09-11 01:59:16

A team of University of Oklahoma researchers studying neurobiology in fruit flies (Drosophila) has developed a new method for understanding  brain function with potential applications in studies of human neurological diseases. The work is carried out in the laboratory of Bing Zhang, a professor in the OU Department of Zoology, using fruit flies as a model for understanding what happens in the human brain because they share thousands of the same genes with a human. Zhang and his students...


Word of the Day
endocarp
  • The hard inner (usually woody) layer of the pericarp of some fruits (as peaches or plums or cherries or olives) that contains the seed.
This word comes from the Greek 'endon,' in, within, plus the Greek 'karpos', fruit.
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