Event Detail

Fri Feb 18, 2011
5101 Tolman, 11 AM–1 PM
Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Viviana Gradinaru (Stanford University)
Brain Challenge: Towards Deconstructing the Structure, Understanding the Function, and Troubleshooting the Dysfunction of Brain Circuitry

Viviana Gradinaru will present the latest advancements in technologies to probe both the structure and function of the normal and diseased brain. She will highlight recent advances in understanding the mechanism behind deep brain stimulation (DBS) by using optogenetics. Although a very powerful therapeutic option for intractable movement and affective disorders (Parkinson’s disease, tremor, depression), DBS has variable efficacy and can lead to serious side effects, due to the nonspecificity of electrical stimulation. By using a cell-type specific optical deep brain stimulator in parkinsonian rodents one can address a critical question in the neurosurgery field: how does DBS exerts its therapeutic effects? Information about the roles of specific cell types in DBS mechanisms could be used to improve the parameters for electrode placement and stimulation in patients. Application of optogenetics to non-neuronal cells such as glia and further optogenetic tool development (potent neuronal optogenetic inhibitors and promoter-free projection-based targeting of optogenes in genetically non-tractable mammals) will also be presented.