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Discovery

New Technique Opens Window Into Brain Research

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Graphic illustration showing a beam of light hitting a neuron

When light-sensitive proteins are expressed in neurons, scientists can control brain activity with light. This technique, known as optogenetics, will allow researchers to tease out the role that specific neurons play in the brain in both health and disease.

Credit: Sputnik Animation, McGovern Institute, Ed Boyden


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Ed Boyden with a computer and equipment in his office

Ed Boyden, Ph.D., is one of the inventors of a new research tool called optogenetics that allows scientists to control brain activity using light. Boyden believes optogenetics will shed light on how the brain functions normally, and allow researchers to identify new targets for the treatment of brain disorders.

Credit: Paula Aguilera


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