In The Field

SfN 2009: Optogenetics – the second wave

There are heaps of posters and presentations this year about optogenetics — the technique developed just a few years ago at Stanford by Karl Deisseroth and Ed Boyden, in which neurons can be engineered to respond to light. There’s even a section of the press book on optogenetics. If this had been a year ago, I might have rolled my eyes and thought, “optogenetics is so 2005”, but it looks like the technology is riding on its second wave: it’s out there, people trust it, and now labs are using it in quite creative ways and actually discovering new things about the brain. A few people at the conference are already murmuring about a Nobel for optogenetics. 


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