22 Feb '17, 8am

#neuroscience

Engineers have taken one of biotech’s hottest tools—optogenetics—and made it better. The 12-year-old technique, which enables scientists to control brain cells with light, typically requires a multi-step process and several surgeries on animal models. Polina Anikeeva at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her colleagues came up with an engineering solution that combines those steps into one, and improves the function of the device. The group described their invention today in the journal Nature Neuroscience . Optogenetics enables researchers to hack into the body’s electrical system with far more precision than traditional electrical stimulation. The technique involves genetically altering specific neurons so that they can be turned on or off with a simple flash of light. The tool is useful for figuring out the functions of neural circuits—fire up a select ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/...

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