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Monthly Archives: July 2013
The ability to wirelessly control neural circuitry has been a long-standing goal in neuroscience. Recent advances have put this goal in site using optogenetic approaches. In 2011, multiple groups presented the first attempts at making wireless light delivery application for optogenetics (Iwai et al., 2011; Wentz et al., 2011). These advances, however, were constrained to particular environments or apparatuses to power the devices. The radiofrequency power scavenging approach presented in Kim et al., 2013 frees the experimenter from these constraints. In the recent report, the Bruchas (Washington University at St. Louis) and Rogers (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) labs present ultrathin, microscale optoelectronics and sensors that can be used for the optogenetic manipulations. Unlike other wireless approaches this system can be used with any behavioral apparatus or paradigm, which should allow researchers to explore more complex behaviors while perturbing neural circuitry.
The wireless µILED devices can incorporate wired cellular-scale components that can all be inserted into the brain using a combination of a silk-based biodissolvable adhesive (Kim et al., 2010) and an injection needle similar in concept to electrode delivery presented previously (Kozai and Kipke, 2009). These components include, but are presumably not limited to, temperature sensors, electrodes for … Continue reading
A recently developed smartphone application allows estimating the required optical power for a given in vivo optogenetic stimulation experiment or any other experimental approach that includes light delivery to deep brain areas via optical fibers. Different brain areas have different optical properties, which determine how light scatters and distributes (and how deeply it penetrates the tissue), once it exits the fiber. The application has a complete mouse brain atlas included that can be used to determine the optical properties of any brain area in the mouse brain (the data on which the calculations are based on was recently published in PlosONE: Aj-Juboori et al, 2013). The user can find the brain areas of his choice, mark it on the atlas, then tell the application what type of optogenetic protein he/she wants to use, as well as the type of optical fiber, desired optical power, and desired protein activation ratio. The application then estimates how far the light will spread in this particular experimental situation (and thus, up to which distance from the fiber tip optogenetic protein activation can be expected). The APP comes in two versions, a free version and a Pro Version that costs $1.99. The two versions are … Continue reading