Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicist's tool has potential for brain mapping

Date:
May 16, 2013
Source:
University of Texas at Arlington
Summary:
Physicists are developing a new tool that uses low-energy near-infrared light and fiber optics for optogenetic stimulation of cells. He believes it will be a useful tool for mapping physical and functional connections in the brain.

A new tool being developed by UT Arlington assistant professor of physics could help scientists map and track the interactions between neurons inside different areas of the brain.

The journal Optics Letters recently published a paper by Samarendra Mohanty on the development of a fiber-optic, two-photon, optogenetic stimulator and its use on human cells in a laboratory. The tiny tool builds on Mohanty's previous discovery that near-infrared light can be used to stimulate a light-sensitive protein introduced into living cells and neurons in the brain. This new method could show how different parts of the brain react when a linked area is stimulated.

The technology would be useful in the BRAIN mapping initiative recently championed by President Barack Obama, Mohanty said. BRAIN stands for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies and will include $100 million in government investments in research.

"Scientists have spent a lot of time looking at the physical connections between different regions of the brain. But that information is not sufficient unless we examine how those connections function," Mohanty said. "That's where two-photon optogenetics comes into play. This is a tool not only to control the neuronal activity but to understand how the brain works."

The two-photon optogenetic stimulation described in the Optics Letter paper involves introducing the gene for ChR2, a protein that responds to light, into a sample of excitable cells. A fiber-optic infrared beam of light can then be used to precisely excite the neurons in a tissue circuit.

In the brain, researchers would then observe responses in the excited area as well as other parts of the neural circuit. In living subjects, scientists would also observe the behavioral outcome, Mohanty said.

Optogenetic stimulation avoids damage to living tissue by using light to stimulate neurons instead of electric pulses used in past research. Mohanty's method of using low-energy near-infrared light also enables more precision and a deeper focus than the blue or green light beams often used in optogenetic stimulation, the paper said.

Using fiber optics to deliver the two-photon optogenetic beam is another advance. Previous methods required bulky microscopes or complex scanning beams. Mohanty's group is collaborating with UT Arlington Department of Psychology assistant professor Linda Perrotti to apply this technology in living animals.

"Dr. Mohanty's innovations continue to be recognized because of the great potential they hold," said Pamela Jansma, dean of the UT Arlington College of Science. "Hopefully, his work will one day provide researchers in other fields the tools they need to examine how the human body works and why normal processes sometimes fail."

Mohanty's co-authors on the research were members of his lab, Kamal Dhakal, Ling Gu and Bryan Black.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Arlington. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Samarendra Mohanty, Kamal Dhakal, Ling Gu, and Bryan Black. Fiber-optic two-photon optogenetic stimulation. Optics Letters, 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Arlington. "Physicist's tool has potential for brain mapping." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516161708.htm>.
University of Texas at Arlington. (2013, May 16). Physicist's tool has potential for brain mapping. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516161708.htm
University of Texas at Arlington. "Physicist's tool has potential for brain mapping." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516161708.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a type of invisibility cloak with simple focal lenses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) The 2015 Corvette features valet mode – which allows the owner to secretly record audio and video – but in many states that practice is illegal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins