Optogenetics is a technology that allows targeted, fast control of precisely defined events in biological systems as complex as freely moving mammals. Optogenetic approaches have opened new landscapes for the study of biology, both in health and disease and provided a research tool to obtain insights into complex tissue function, as has been the case for Parkinson’s disease. Rather than conceptualizing the brain as a mix of neurotransmitters, ideally we will be able to move toward a circuit- engineering approach, in which devastating symptoms of disease are understood to causally result from specific spatiotemporal patterns of aberrant circuit activity relating to specific neuronal populations.
Karl Deisseroth received his bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1992, his PhD from Stanford in 1998, and his MD from Stanford in 2000. Dr. Deisseroth has created optogenetics, a technology that uses light to precisely control and tune brain activity. His group is now extending this technology to probe the dynamics of neural circuits in health and disease. As a practicing psychiatrist, he also employs brain stimulation for therapeutic purposes. His group employs a wide range of techniques including optics, stem cell and tissue engineering, electrophysiology, genomics, animal behavior, and computational network modeling.
This lecture begins at 7:00pm on the lawn of the Cantor Art Museum. Please note: this lecture will not be available on Stanford iTunes.