Mr Stephen Rudinski, Neuronal Integration Group, Eccles Institute of Neuroscience, JCSMR, ANU.
Optogenetic methods provide a powerful tool for studying cortical circuitry. As a result, multiple transgenic mouse lines have been developed expressing light-activated channels such as channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2). Functional characterisation of ChR2 expression in these models has enabled their use in studying synaptic interactions between excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the cortex. Additionally, these techniques can be used to examine the impact of long-range thalamic inputs on information processing in cortical domains. Together with real-time light delivery systems, this enables an efficient way to study network connection patterns.