Applications of holography in optogenetics

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Τσάκας, Αναστάσιος

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The brain is a complex organ where little is known about how it works and its diseases and treatment. Many efforts have been made by scientists to unlock the mysteries surrounding the brain. Various techniques have been developed for the study and treatment of the brain but they are mostly invasive and do not provide enough information. However, a new technique, Optogenetics, is a very promising method for studying the brain. Specifically, by using light Optogenetics is able to examine how specific neural networks work which are responsible for functions such as movement, information processing and emotions. By introducing appropriate photosensitive opsins into the neurons, we can activate or deactivate the function of a neuron at will and then observe the effect it has on the brain and on the overall organism. The Optogenetics method consists of four basic steps: selection of a light-sensitive protein which is appropriate for the desired optogenetic experiment. Afterwards, the light-sensitive protein has to be expressed genetically into the neuron. A viral vector is the most commonly used method for gene expression. Then, an illumination technique is selected. There are various ways to illuminate a neuron for photoactivation, such as beam directing, galvo-based scanning, direct projection and holographic projection with each illumination technique having its advantages and disadvantages. Finally, an optical readout technique is selected for the collection of the information that is related with the changes in the function of the brain and in the behavior of the animal model.



Optogenetics, Brain