Deep-brain exploration with nanomaterial


You can’t peer very far down into a well or below the surface of the ocean before things go dark—light does not penetrate to such depths. Though the brain is far from bottomless, neuroscientists face the same lack of light when they try to study living deep-brain structures. This is especially frustrating given that optogenetics, a method for manipulating genetically tagged brain cells with light, has exploded in popularity over the past decade. “Optogenetics has been a revolutionary tool for controlling neurons in the lab, and hopefully someday in the clinic,” says Thomas McHugh, research group leader at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan. “Unfortunately, delivering light within brain tissue requires invasive optical fibers.” Continue reading at RIKEN’s web site >>

理化学研究所(理研)脳科学総合研究センター神経回路・行動生理学研究チームのトーマス・マックヒュー チームリーダー、 シュオ・チェン基礎科学特別研究員らの国際共同研究グループは、低エネルギーの光を高エネルギーの光に変換する 「アップコンバージョン-ナノ粒子(UCNP)」を用いて、マウスの脳組織に損傷を与えずに脳深部の神経細胞の活動を制御する、 新しい非侵襲的「光遺伝学法」を開発しました。 全文はこちら>>

Shuo Chen
Research Scientist