Optogenetics, an exciting new gene therapy technique has the potential to bypass many of the problems to date, and has been hailed as the 'Method of the Year' for 2010 by the Journal Nature.
Discovered by Ernst Bamberg, Peter Hegemann and Georg Nagel at the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt 8 years ago, the technique converts nerve cells to being sensitive to particular colours of light. Simple pulses of intense light cause the photosensitized nerve cells to fire action potentials - the currency of information in the nervous system.
The OptoNeuro project aims to engineer complementary optoelectronics to stimulate the photosensitized neurons. This approach combine advances in the biological photosensitization of neuron cells, with an interface capable of delivering intense light stimuli with high spatial and temporal resolution.
Our aim is to provide a system scalable for applications both in basic neuroscience and in Neuroprosthesis. In particular, we envisage our optoelectronics to be used in a future optogenetic/optoelectronic retinal prosthesis for those blinded by the retinitis pigmentosa disease.
OptoNeuro is a STREP Project in the EU's Seventh Framework Programme, addressing the ICT-2007.8.0 "Future and Emerging Technologies" programme. The project started on 1st October 2010, and is set out to run for three years.
Project No: 249867
Action Duration: 2010 -- 2013
Stimulation of a single neuron via microLED arrays
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