Navigation Links
EUREKA grant to fund development of new 'optogenetic' technique for mapping neural networks at UMMS
Date:10/24/2013

WORCESTER, MA University of Massachusetts Medical School Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Gang Han, PhD, has received a $1.3 million EUREKA (Exceptional Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop light activated nanoparticles that can be used to image live brain tissue. These novel nanoparticles will form the basis of a new "optogenetic" tool that promises to help researchers map and decode previously inaccessible neural circuitry deep in the brain using near infrared light. Insights gleamed from this breakthrough technique will further our understanding of the relationship between neural circuit activity, behavior and neuropsychiatric diseases. The co-investigators on the grant include Carlos Lois MD, PHD, professor of neurobiology and Yang Xiang, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology.

Understanding how the activities of certain neurons help to mediate behavior and influence disease is a prominent challenge in treating neuropsychiatric disorders. Optogenetics is an emerging technique hoping to address this challenge. It combines recent breakthroughs in both optics and genetics to allow scientists to stimulate the activity of individual neurons in animal models. However, current optogenetic tools rely on fiber optic probes to transmit light and stimulate neurons in vivo. Because these probes have to be surgically inserted into the brain and attached to a power source their practical use in animal models is greatly impeded.

With the EUREKA grant, Dr. Han proposes to develop a wireless optogenetic technique using key advances his lab has made in lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs). The advantage of these nanoparticles is that they can be turned on using low power, tissue-penetrating, near infrared radiation that is then converted to higher energy, visible light that can be seen through deep tissue. This means that they can be activated remotely and safely inside living animal models to stimulate and observe particular neurons or neural circuitry without the need for surgery or restrictive probes. This would provide scientists an important new tool for mapping and understanding the complex interaction between particular neural pathways and behavior.

"This strategy offers a potential paradigm shift to achieve true 'wireless' control of neuron activation and deactivation," said Han. "The impact of such a new technique is impossible to overstate as it would allow us to study the relationship between neural circuitry activation and behavior, a possibility that even a few years ago was hard to image."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Fessenden
james.fessenden@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NIH awards Scripps Translational Science Institute $29 million grant
2. UMass Amherst physics professor wins grant to study organization inside cells space
3. NSF awards grants for deployment of new observing system in the North Atlantic Ocean
4. AgriLife researcher Xiuren Zhang receives National Science Foundation CAREER grant
5. SOFIE BIO Receives $1.8M Phase II SBIR Grant
6. Garvan Institute receives grant to research role of long non-coding RNAs in Parkinsons disease
7. Parkinsons Surgery Research wins NSF Grant
8. $1.5 million NCI Grant to aid Huntsman Cancer Institute researcher study melanoma, sun damage link
9. Georgia State researcher gets $499,209 NSF grant to advance sociogenomics
10. UNLV, Sen. Reid Announce $20 Million NIH grant to support clinical health research
11. $50 million NSF grant to advance cyberinfrastructure for big data in life sciences
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2016)... Florida , March 29, 2016 ... the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased ... in ink used in a variety of writing instruments, ... Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange ... forensic analysis of the DNA. Bill ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... and facial recognition with passcodes for superior security ... MESG ), a leading provider of secure digital communications ... pilot their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly ... provide secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... , March 15, 2016 Yissum Research ... the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, announced today ... remote sensing technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera ... $2.0 million from private investors. ... on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The Ankle Plating ... options designed to address fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. This system ... Ankle Plating System 3 is composed of seven plate families that span the ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the ... information exchange, today announced that Charles W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI ... CEO since January 2016. As an executive leader with more than 35 years of ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... 2016   MedyMatch Technology Ltd ., the data analytics ... decision support tools in the emergency room, announced today that ... Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. The ... 15th National Life Sciences and Technology Week, and is being ... in Tel Aviv, Israel . Gene ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media has released its ... Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are creating both opportunities and ... a lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture market has grown ...
Breaking Biology Technology: