Shining New Light on Neural Circuits
by Greg Mille
"When researchers from Yale University reported last year that they'd used a laser to activate neurons in fruit flies and in turn control the insects' behavior, even Jay Leno thought it was cool. In a skit, the Tonight Show host pretended to use a remote-controlled fly to harass President George W. Bush during a speech. "I thought it was actually quite funny," says Gero Miesenböck, the neuroscientist who led the study. A video clip of Leno's skit elicited chuckles when Miesenböck played it during a presentation at October's meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Atlanta, Georgia." [more from Science]
IMAGE: An optical fiber delivers light to stimulate photosensitive neurons deep in a mouse's brain. (from Science 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, pp. 1674 - 1676)
CREDIT: ALEX ARAVANIS AND KARL DEISSEROTH/STANFORDTo read abstracts from the Mini Symposium on Optogenetics at the Society for Neurocience, October 2006, go to the Society's annual meeting website http://www.sfn.org/am2006/, select the neuroscience meeting planner, then search for Miesenbock as author in the advanced search.