25. November 2021
During the last decade optogenetics has revolutionized neuroscientific research. Its unique combination of genetics and optical methods enables the precise manipulation of neuronal circuitries in the living animal. Our brain processes information electrical (action potentials) or chemically via neurotransmitters. Light sensitive proteins are now used to either excite or inhibit action potentials and to modulate intracellular signaling pathways. Optogenetics has an unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution and turns neuroscientist from passive observers to active manipulators. These days, in animal models Parkinson symptoms, spinal cord injuries, blindness can be treated, insulin production is promoted or anxiety modulated.
This talk will first give an overview of optogenetic methods their application in scientific research and their possible translation in treatments. Afterwards current research findings from the AG Synthetic Biology will illustrate possibilities and limitations of optogenetics to understand psychiatric diseases, such as anxiety and depression.