OptogeneticsA Light Switch for the Brain Derek Schweighart
HistoryOptogenetics is the integration of optics andgenetics to achieve gain of previous loss of functionof events within cells of living tissueOptogenetics was first invented in 2006 at Standfordby Karl Deisseroth, MD
How it worksUse channel rhodopsin gene to excited the nervewhen light hits the nerveUse halo rhodopsin gene to inhibited the nerve whenlight hits the nerve
Six Steps of Optogenetics Create a genetic construct Insert construct into virus Inject virus into Insert optrode fiberoptic cable plus electrode Laser light opens ion channel in neurons Record behavioral results
ProsOptogenetics is less invasive than electricalstimulationResponse time is faster than other treatmentsActivate or stop certain groups of neurons in thecircuits with a precise electrophysiology
Possible cures for:AnxietyAddictionChronic painSleep disordersAttention Deficit DisorderMigraine
ConsLimitations include the introducing a foreign geneinto the human brainFiber optics could pose the threat of infection andbeing uncomfortable and having to carry heavybatteriesCostReports of depression and causing falls
Discussion questionsWhat other conditions could optogenetics help?How could it made safer to humans?How could less foreign (ie) human genes be used inoptogenetics?How could it be run without batteries?