ZOOM Into Science 2022 Online Lectures - From Understanding Simple Algae Protein to Complex Brain Science: The Story behind Optogenetics


13 Apr 2022


4:30 p.m. 




Prof. CHOW Hei Man Kim (School of Life Sciences)


3943 1387 /

Event Details:

Optogenetics is a technique that allows brain neurons to be activated or inactivated with light. This technique roots from the understanding of cell proteins from algae, which respond to light and transport ions into and out of the cells. When the genes encoding these proteins are inserted into neurons, they allow them to respond to light in the same way. With laser directed at these neurons, scientists could either activate or switch off their activities. Optogenetics has been used to study how the brain works, and how neurons might be controlled to treat disease, and even an animal’s behaviour. I will introduce the history of this technique, its applications for understanding higher order brain functions, and potentials as treatment to restore sight. This technique shall serve as an excellent example showcasing how understanding of fundamental biology from simple organisms could lead to advancements in biomedical science and disease treatment.