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Sending Red Light Through The Skull To Influence Brain Activity Using Red-Shifted Cruxhalorhodopsin named Jaws

Sending Red Light Through The Skull To Influence Brain Activity Using Red-Shifted Cruxhalorhodopsin named Jaws | STEAM | Scoop.it
Genetically engineered protein responds remotely to red light.

 

A team of biological engineers has developed a light-sensitive protein that permits scientists to control activity inside the brains of mice from outside the rodents’ skulls. The protein, called Jaws, promises to expand scientists’ ability to study brain activity in experimental animals and -- eventually -- humans. Ultimately, it holds the prospect of facilitating treatment of human conditions such as epilepsy.


Researchers are also using the protein to treat eye disease in experimental animals. Here, an immediate goal is therapy for certain eye ailments in humans.


Scientists use optogenetics, as the technology is known, to study the behavior and pathology of experimental animals’ brains by shining light on proteins known as opsins. Introduced into the brain aboard viruses, the opsins respond to the light by suppressing or stimulating electrical signals in brain cells. Optogenetic inhibition of the electrical activity of neurons enables the causal assessment of their contributions to brain functions. Red light penetrates deeper into tissue than other visible wavelengths. The red-shifted cruxhalorhodopsin, Jaws, derived from Haloarcula (Halobacterium) salinarum (strain Shark) and engineered to result in red light–induced photocurrents three times those of earlier silencers. Jaws exhibits robust inhibition of sensory-evoked neural activity in the cortex and results in strong light responses when used in retinas of retinitis pigmentosa model mice.


The opsins normally used in brain studies are sensitive to blue, green, or yellow light. Because bodily tissue absorbs those colors easily, the sources of such light must lie inside the brain. Typically, the light is delivered through an optical fiber implanted in an experimental animal’s brain. Jaws can noninvasively mediate transcranial optical inhibition of neurons deep in the brains of awake mice. The noninvasive optogenetic inhibition opened up by Jaws enables a variety of important neuroscience experiments and offers a powerful general-use chloride pump for basic and applied neuroscience.


A team led by Ed Boyden, associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, reporting in Nature Neuroscience, demonstrated that red light shone from outside a mouse’s head can influence the Jaws protein up to three millimeters deep inside the brain. In fact, Boyden said, "we think the light goes further into the brain." A mouse’s brain is only about four millimeters thick.


"This is a huge advance, in that it allows for much deeper penetration of effective light," said David Lyon, an associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. Lyon was not involved in the research on Jaws.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Plane sailing: engineering an assault on the America’s Cup

Plane sailing: engineering an assault on the America’s Cup | STEAM | Scoop.it
A crack technical team led by a veteran of Formula One is helping Olympic sailing legend Ben Ainslie mount a challenge for sport’s oldest trophy.
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Rolls-Royce boss to give half his £1.7m ARM share windfall to charity

Rolls-Royce boss to give half his £1.7m ARM share windfall to charity | STEAM | Scoop.it
Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East will give to charity half of the £
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It’s Time for Fancy Apartments to Offer Balconies for Drone Landings

It’s Time for Fancy Apartments to Offer Balconies for Drone Landings | STEAM | Scoop.it
Drones are coming, and they're going to change a lot of things about how we shape our lives. So why shouldn't we change how we shape our buildings?
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GKN exec Nigel Stein: ‘Winning or losing, there’s no such thing as standing still’

GKN exec Nigel Stein: ‘Winning or losing, there’s no such thing as standing still’ | STEAM | Scoop.it
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Hackers Don’t Have to Be Human Anymore. This Bot Battle Proves It

Hackers Don’t Have to Be Human Anymore. This Bot Battle Proves It | STEAM | Scoop.it
Now it's bot against bot.
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This week’s poll: mining in space

This week’s poll: mining in space | STEAM | Scoop.it
Will space mining ever be a practical proposition? NASA’s announcement of progress on its Asteroid Redirect Mission raises a possibility long mentioned in fiction: exploiting other celestial bodies for their mineral resources.
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The Despair of Poor White Americans

The Despair of Poor White Americans | STEAM | Scoop.it
Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has.
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We want you! Organizations see huge hole in cybersecurity staffing needs

We want you! Organizations see huge hole in cybersecurity staffing needs | STEAM | Scoop.it
Finding, hiring and retaining properly trained cybersecurity personnel is proving to be a major chore for corporations worldwide with the general lack of staffers proving detrimental to their organizations cyber safety.
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Instead of asking, “are robots becoming more human?” we need to ask “are humans becoming more robotic?”

Instead of asking, “are robots becoming more human?” we need to ask “are humans becoming more robotic?” | STEAM | Scoop.it
For more than 65 years, computer scientists have studied whether robots' behavior could become indistinguishable from human intelligence. But while we’ve focused on machines, have we ignored changes to our own capabilities?
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3-D Printing a Better Prosthetic

3-D Printing a Better Prosthetic | STEAM | Scoop.it
Algorithms can be used to design cheap, perfect-fitting limbs, orthodontics, and other accessories.
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Buying Space Memorabilia Can Be Cheaper Than You’d Think

Buying Space Memorabilia Can Be Cheaper Than You’d Think | STEAM | Scoop.it
What kind of person pays thousands of dollars for the right to own a piece of space history?
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Clever AI Turns a World of Lasers Into Maps for Self-Driving Cars

Clever AI Turns a World of Lasers Into Maps for Self-Driving Cars | STEAM | Scoop.it
With a fresh pile of cash, startup Civil Maps is racing Google, Here, and others to teach self-driving cars to see and understand their world.
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This blind Apple engineer is transforming the tech world at only 22

This blind Apple engineer is transforming the tech world at only 22 | STEAM | Scoop.it
Jordyn Carter is helping Apple design technology with the blind community in mind.
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FTSE 100 surges 2.2pc and pound climbs as hopes of Fed rate hike fade after tepid US jobs data

FTSE 100 surges 2.2pc and pound climbs as hopes of Fed rate hike fade after tepid US jobs data | STEAM | Scoop.it
The FTSE 100 charged to a two-week high, surging 148.
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Schools Aren't Teaching Students What They Need to Know

Schools Aren't Teaching Students What They Need to Know | STEAM | Scoop.it
Education experts weigh in on the content areas children should have mastery over by the time they graduate.
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The energy to succeed

The energy to succeed | STEAM | Scoop.it
The founding of The Engineer coincided with the first stirrings of the energy sector, where technology, business, politics and powerful personalities combined to an extent seen in few other industries.
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Why Do So Many Women Who Study Engineering Leave the Field?

Why Do So Many Women Who Study Engineering Leave the Field? | STEAM | Scoop.it
Research shows that class projects and internships reinforce a masculine culture.
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Downtown Manhattan Is the New Frontier of the Car-Free City

Downtown Manhattan Is the New Frontier of the Car-Free City | STEAM | Scoop.it
How a brief experiment in car-free living could change the city for the better and for good.
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Big Data, Cloud Demand Drive IT Job Growth - InformationWeek

Big Data, Cloud Demand Drive IT Job Growth - InformationWeek | STEAM | Scoop.it
IT job numbers grew in July, but not as fast as they did during the rest of 2016. Yet big data and cloud trends will continue to drive job growth going forward, according to CompTIA researchers.
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A Tesla Co-Founder Is Making Electric Garbage Trucks With Jet Tech, and Why Not

A Tesla Co-Founder Is Making Electric Garbage Trucks With Jet Tech, and Why Not | STEAM | Scoop.it
Ian Wright is using turbine engines to keep electric garbage trucks on the road.
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Breakthrough solar cell captures carbon dioxide and sunlight, produces burnable fuel

Breakthrough solar cell captures carbon dioxide and sunlight, produces burnable fuel | STEAM | Scoop.it
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using onl...
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Baby diapers inspired this new way to study the brain

Baby diapers inspired this new way to study the brain | STEAM | Scoop.it
Neuroengineer Ed Boyden wants to know how the tiny biomolecules in our brains generate emotions, thoughts and feelings -- and he wants to find the molecular changes that lead to disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer's.
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Light-activated heart cells help guide robotic stingray

Light-activated heart cells help guide robotic stingray | STEAM | Scoop.it
Layers of silicone, gold and genetically engineered rat heart cells make up the body of a new stingray robot that can swim in response to light.
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What ISIS Really Wants

What ISIS Really Wants | STEAM | Scoop.it
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
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