Register for Scientifica's tutorial, 15 years of optogenetics: The development of the techniques that drive neuroscience today

Register for Scientifica's tutorial, 15 years of optogenetics: The development of the techniques that drive neuroscience today

Learn how optogenetic tools and techniques have developed since they were first introduced 15 years ago.

Thursday 25th March, 16:00 - 17:00 CET.

During the 14th Göttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society.

Register using the form on this page, by 10am CET 16th March.

In this tutorial, during the 14th Göttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society, Scientifica's Dr. Christian Wilms will present an introduction to the development of optogenetic tools that are available. Particular attention will be given to sequential stimulation of multiple cells using one- and two-photon excitation, as well as the use of holographic methods to achieve simultaneous activation of dozens to hundreds of neurons in deeper tissue using two-photon excitation.

Optogenetics refers to use of a set of genetically encoded probes that make it possible to control different aspects of a cell's physiology using light. This can mean depolarizing or hyperpolarizing a neuron as well activating or inactivating other cellular processes. Most commonly, so-called opsin proteins are used to influence the spiking of neurons by light flashes.

When the term "optogenetics" was first coined at a symposium at the SfN Annual Meeting in 2006, opsins were generally activated non-specifically by exposing larger areas of tissue to the stimulation light - either by illuminating the full field of view of a microscope, or by implanting relatively large diameter fibres into an animal’s skull. The only way to achieve specificity was to use genetic tools to target genetically defined cell populations, or by using single cell electroporation.

In the past 15 years, there have been improvements in the specificity of targeting of optogenetic manipulation of physiology. More sophisticated genetic tools allow expression of opsins to be targeted to cells based on their previous activity, based on axonal projection patterns, and even to subcellular structures. In parallel, the tools for applying photostimulation have also evolved. Today, single cells can be targeted in culture and slices but also deep in intact brains.

Registrations for this event are now closed. We are looking forward to seeing you on 25th March.

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