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July 9, 2014

Optogenetics -- revolutionary new research technique (Image 3)

Optogenetics is a revolutionary new research technique that enables scientists to use light to precisely control the activity of neurons in the brain. The brain is made of an incredible diversity of cell types. In a cubic millimeter of brain tissue, there might be hundreds of different kinds of cells. Each of those cells computes using millisecond-timescale electrical impulses known as spikes or action potentials.

This research was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award (CBET 10-53233), and by NSF grants EFRI 08-35878, DMS 08-48804 (a Small Grant for Exploratory Research) and DMS 10-42134, which funded the development of optogenetics tools and their applications.

To learn more about this research, see the NSF Discovery story Critical tool for brain research derived from 'pond scum or New Technique Opens Window Into Brain Research. [Image 3 of 5 related images. See Image 4.]

Credit: Ed Boyden and Massachusetts Institute of Technology McGovern Institute

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