Skip to comments.Neuroscience: Method man - Karl Deisseroth is leaving his mark on brain science one technique at...
Posted on 05/31/2013 3:29:43 PM PDT by neverdem
Karl Deisseroth is leaving his mark on brain science one technique at a time.
When Karl Deisseroth moved into his first lab in 2004, he found himself replacing a high-profile tenant: Nobel-prizewinning physicist Steven Chu. His name was still on the door when I moved in, says Deisseroth, a neuroscientist, of the basement space at Stanford University in California. The legacy has had its benefits. When chemistry student Feng Zhang dropped by looking for Chu, Deisseroth convinced him to stick around. I don't think he knew who I was. But he got interested enough.
Deisseroth is now a major name in science himself. He is associated with two blockbuster techniques that allow researchers to show how intricate circuits in the brain create patterns of behaviour. The development of the methods, he says, came from a desire to understand mechanisms that give rise to psychiatric disease and from the paucity of techniques to do so. It was extremely clear that for fundamental advances in these domains I would have to spend time developing new tools, says Deisseroth.
His measured tone and laid-back demeanour belie the frenzy that his lab's techniques are generating in neuroscience. First came optogenetics1, which involves inserting light-sensitive proteins from algae into neurons, allowing researchers to switch the cells on and off with light. Deisseroth developed the method shortly after starting his lab, working with Zhang and Edward Boyden, a close collaborator at the time. Optogenetics has since been adopted by scientists around the world to explore everything from the functions of neuron subtypes to the circuits altered in depression or autism. Deisseroth has lost count of how many groups are using it. We sent clones to thousands of laboratories, he says.
Now his lab is gearing up for another rush, after publishing a method called CLARITY2...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
I’ve a son with Schizoaffective Disorder and I Teach a 12-week class for families dealing with similar mental illness in their loved one. This is the kind of research only dreamed of a few years ago.
the part in his story that gets me is how much time and progress was wasted by the pinheads holding the pursestrings who kept rejecting his applications for funding because THEY couldn’t understand it. Einstein would have never had a chance with these federal stuck on stupid yutzes.
Which goes to the heart of the argument for government money in basic research. Wouldn’t we be better off if the wealthy funded this research? At least you’d have some objective as opposed to being rewarded whether or not the research pays off.
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