Optogenetics among photonics techniques highlighted at Neuroscience 2014

Technology in general, and optogenetics in particular, is a focus here at Neuroscience 2015, where in past years the tools behind the developments have been difficult to discern.

Nov 18th, 2014
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Technology in general, and optogenetics in particular, is a focus here at Neuroscience 2014, where in past years the tools behind the developments have been difficult to discern. Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Executive Director Marty Saggese told me that SfN President Carol Mason (of Columbia University) was the reason for this change. Mason herself told me that the U.S.'s Brain Research through Advancing Imaging Neurotechnologies Initiative, known as the BRAIN Initiative, is a major factor in this emphasis.

The results can be seen in the conference program, which was to include a special lecture on nanoscopy with focused light by Nobel Laureate Stefan W. Hell, Ph.D. (who unfortunately had to cancel because of illness). Also on the program, as part of the Meet-the-Expert Series, was Stanford University’s Mark Schnitzer, Ph.D., speaking on large-scale optical imaging of ensemble neural activity in freely behaving animals (that is, optogenetics). Optogenetics is the focus of a SfN-sponsored “purely social event” chaired by Stephan Lammel, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley and co-chair Elizabeth E. Steinberg, Ph.D., as well as a number of poster sessions, including those focused on optogenetics tools development, integration with electrophysiology, and experimental uses. The technique is fairly ubiquitous in the exhibit hall as well. More on that later!

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