Optogenetics: Controlling the Brain with Light
Capitol Hill Briefing, in Washington, DC: Highlighted as one of the “big ideas” of the past decade by the journal Science, optogenetics involves the use of light to control neurons, and it has opened up a realm of possibilities for better understanding the brain.
OptogeneticsUsing Light to Control the Brain
In 2004, scientists, including author Edward S. Boyden, Ph.D., found that the neural expression of a protein, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), allowed light to activate or silence brain cells. This technology, now known as optogenetics, is helping scientists determine the functions of specific neurons in the brain, and could play a significant role in treating medical issues as diverse as sleep disorders and vision impairment.