Shining a light on the brain

Neuroscientist demystifies two techniques devised to study, control the organ To a thronging audience of scientists, students, engineers and doctors, Karl Deisseroth, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, demystified two revolutionary techniques that he and his colleagues at Stanford University had devised to study and control the brain: optogenetics and CLARITY. His lab uses some “rather unlikely allies” from the natural world – microbial organisms and algae – organisms that are light-sensitive and help “illuminate” the brain to study and control it through optogenetics, he said. “We can now use certain genetic tricks to deliver genes of interest to regions of interest… We also use anatomical tricks, where, for instance, a virus carrying a gene could be injected deep into brain structure. CLARITY on the other hand creates a “see-through brain” –…

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