One of the primary motivations in the field of neuroscience has long been to map neural networks in the brain. This venture has far reaching benefits including determining how neurodegenerative diseases present themselves, and how they can be treated. Optogenetics is a technique which allows researchers to control neurons with light by expressing rhodopsin proteins in target neuronal cells. Rhodopsins are photoactive membrane proteins which transport ions in response to light. When researchers force neurons to express rhodopsins, they are able to activate neurons with channel rhodopsins and silence neurons with outward directed proton pumping rhodopsins or inward directed chloride pumping rhodopsins. In this way, researchers have the ability to map neural networks and shed light on the nature of devastating neurological diseases.
The talk is from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. Snacks will be provided at 12:00 pm. Make sure to follow the Graduate Seminar Series on Facebook.