Dr. Karl Deisseroth gives a retrospective on the development of optogenetics, a technology that has revolutionized neuroscience. Optogenetics uses pulses of light to alter an animal’s behavior by taking advantage of light-sensitive ion conductance regulators called microbial opsins, which convert a photon of light into an electrical signal. By using genetics to express opsins in particular neurons, scientists can control the activation or suppression of neurons with pulses of light and measure the resulting behavioral changes in an animal.
Karl Deisseroth is Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and an HHMI Investigator. He earned his MD/PhD in neuroscience from Stanford University. His lifelong interest in psychiatry led him to build a world-class laboratory in neuroscience where he developed optogenetics. His lab studies the control and mapping of neural… Continue Reading