Emerging Techniques to Study the CNS

paul kenny christie fowler brian lee
Paul J. Kenny, Christie Fowler, and Brian Lee

In the June Report on Progress, Drs. Christie D. Fowler, Brian Lee, and Paul J. Kenny explain the use of two emerging techniques, optogenetics (light) and DREADDs (drugs), to better study how the central nervous system works.

The ability to manipulate the activity of specific subsets of neurons in the brains of living animals is leading to significant new insights into how the central nervous system works. The recently developed yet already well-established approaches of optogenetics and pharmacosynthetics use light or small molecules, respectively, to control the activity of neurons in the brains of laboratory animals. Using these techniques, we can see how distinct groups of neurons contribute to normal behavioral states or to abnormal behavior similar to those associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.

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–Blayne Jeffries

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