Optogenetics 2.0: Brain Control Goes Wireless Via Light, Sound, or a Drug
February 8, 2018
(STAT News) – Now Optogenetics 2.0 is adding to neuroscientists’ bag of brain-control tricks. In the Caltech study, neurotechnologist Mikhail Shapiro and his colleagues substituted designer drugs for the light in the original optogenetics. With such “chemogenetics,” giving a lab animal a simple lab-made molecule, and only that molecule, triggers the genetically engineered target neurons to fire. The scientists added an acoustic twist: Focused ultrasound opens up the blood-brain barrier and sends the genetic tweak to only certain neurons, in this case the hippocampus. They call it acoustically targeted chemogenetics.