Deisseroth honored for work using optogenetics

Karl Deisseroth, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of Bioengineering and Psychiatry at Stanford University, has earned recognition for his work in developing and using optogenetic approaches to study how neurons function.

Karl Deisseroth, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of Bioengineering and Psychiatry at Stanford University, has earned recognition for his work in developing and using optogenetic approaches to study how neurons function. He has been named the first recipient of the Ludwig von Sallman Clinician-scientist Award, presented by the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research (AFER) to a clinician-scientist under age 40.

Deisseroth's optogenetic technique is an experimental approach based on the insertion of opsins—light-sensitive molecules in photoreceptors as well as many other organisms, including plants and algae—into cells, allowing for fine control of the cell upon flashing light. The novel approach is being used by scientists around the world to probe how the brain works and is gaining acceptance by the science community as critical to the development of other major biological techniques, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and patch-clamp electrophysiology.

Based on the impact that Deisseroth’s technique has had on ophthalmology and vision science, it is expected that his work will lead to real advances in understanding basic retinal function and the restoration of vision in the future, says Gary W. Abrams, MD, FARVO, chair, AFER Board of Governors.

Deisseroth will present a lecture at a minisymposium, “Optogenetics, Visual Function and Restoration,” during the 2011 Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Annual Meeting on May 2 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

A published author of more than 70 papers, Deisseroth has been widely recognized with honors and awards during his career. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1992 and received his Ph.D. in 1998 and MD in 2000 from Stanford.

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Posted by Lee Mather

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