Neuroscience

Critical tool for brain research derived from 'pond scum'

The poster child for basic research might well be a one-celled green algae found in ordinary lakes and ponds. Amazingly, this unassuming creature—called Chlamydomonas—is helping scientists solve one of the most complex ...

Neuroscience

How to erase a memory—and restore it

Using a flash of light, scientists have inactivated and then reactivated a memory in genetically engineered rats. The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, is the first cause-and-effect evidence that strengthened ...

Medical research

'Optogenetics' used to control reward-seeking behavior

Using a combination of genetic engineering and laser technology, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have manipulated brain wiring responsible for reward-seeking behaviors, such as drug addiction. ...

Neuroscience

Closing the loop with optogenetics

An engineering example of closed-loop control is a simple thermostat used to maintain a steady temperature in the home. Without it, heating or air conditioning would run without reacting to changes in outside conditions, ...

Medical research

How light triggers brain activity

Optogenetics uses light to control brain processes. It is based on light-controlled proteins such as channelrhodopsin-2, an ion channel that opens when it's exposed to light, thus activating cellular processes. In collaboration ...

Neuroscience

Scientists cast light on the brain's social cells

Picture yourself hovering over an alien city with billions of blinking lights of thousands of types, with the task of figuring out which ones are connected, which way the electricity flows and how that translates into nightlife. ...

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