Neurophotonics vs. Optogenetics

Neurophotonics vs. Optogenetics

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What is the difference between the two? I see them frequently listed together in conference descriptions but can't seem to find anything that clearly explains the difference.

Neurophotonics refers to the use of light to study the brain, including measurement (i.e. microscopy, including the use of fluorescent molecules that allow measurement of ions or voltages in live tissue, but also including histological techniques) and manipulation (using light to activate, inactivate, modulate, etc neural activity).

Optogenetics refers to the use of genetically encoded (whether delivered via virus or in a transgenic animal) constructs that respond to light and are introduced into cells where they are not normally found, often neurons. Neurophotonics is a broad term that would include optogenetics.

In my personal opinion, optogenetics is a fairly specific term that is useful, though it certainly has some popular buzz around it. Neurophotonics is a new buzzword that encompasses a lot of techniques that have been around a long time, and while these techniques are constantly improved upon, the neurophotonics label isn't really necessary (but sounds fun).

Frontiers in Neural Circuits

The editor and reviewers' affiliations are the latest provided on their Loop research profiles and may not reflect their situation at the time of review.

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    Research Assistant / Associate Professor in Optics & Neurophotonics

    New York, United States

    Laboratory of Neurotechnology and Biophysics

    The Vaziri Laboratory of Neurotechnology and Biophysics ( LNB ) at the Rockefeller University is focused on the development and application of advanced optical imaging technologies to advance neuroscience. Over the last years, we have developed a portfolio of optical technologies that allow for large-scale and whole-brain optical recoding and manipulation of neuroactivity at high spatiotemporal resolution across model systems with an emphasis on development of imaging tools for highly scattering brain tissues ( In our most recent imaging technology, we have shown that up to 1 million neurons distributed across different depths of both hemispheres of the mouse cortex can be recorded at single cell resolution.

    To further push the development of advanced neurotechnologies and microscopy tools, we are seeking to fill one or more academic/faculty positions with the specific title and responsibilities commensurate with the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Candidates hired at the Research Associate or Senior Research Associate level will be eligible for promotion to the rank of Research Assistant Professor subject to successful review by a university committee. More experienced candidates hired at the level of Research Assistant or Research Associate Professor will assume a leadership role in the LNB and have the opportunity to develop an independent and synergistic research program aligned with the ongoing efforts at our department. They would lead a team supported by independently or jointly acquired external funding while imbedded in the LNB , benefiting from the existing laboratory infrastructure and scientific environment.

    Possible areas of candidates’ research at LBN include

    • Development, optimization and application of new optical or non-optical methods for large-scale neuro-imaging and optogenetics
    • Deep tissue imaging and imaging through scattering media
    • Computational imaging technologies, machine learning and advanced statistics
    • Development of early-stage technologies for bio-imaging and biology based on conceptually new approaches from quantum optics/quantum sensing, ultrafast optics, nano-photonics or other areas
    • Development of new molecular sensors and use of biochemical or synthetic biological approaches to enable neurotechnology development

    Key Responsibilities

    • Lead and support one or multiple research projects at senior level while training and mentoring junior scientists
    • Develop together with the Head of Laboratory research projects and acquire jointly or independently research funding
    • Support Head of Laboratory with execution of the laboratory research program
    • Author, publish, and present research findings
    • As needed, lead internal and external collaborative projects, serve as a liaison to industry and support the dissemination of developed technologies


    • PhD in physics, optics, optical / electrical engineering, or related fields
    • Ambitious, creative and motivated by enabling engineering innovations with lasting impact in biology
    • Demonstrated track record of innovation and scientific excellence
    • Excellent organizational and communication skills, ability to manage multiple tasks and projects and work as a key part of an interdisciplinary team
    • Prior experimental work experience in academia or industry on one or more of these areas is highly desired: designing and constructing complex optical systems/instruments, ultra-fast optics, non-linear optics, quantum optics, computational modeling, systems neuroscience

    How to apply

    Interested candidates should send their application material including CV/resume, list of publications, a statement of research interests as well as the contact information of at least three references to [email protected] For more information, please visit our website at

    The Rockefeller University is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a policy that forbids discrimination in employment for protected characteristics. The Administration has an Affirmative Action Program to increase outreach to women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans.

    Deep Imaging

    If all our bodies were as transparent as these jellyfish, the implications for biomedical science would be tremendous. Biologists could directly look at deep tissues to study their function and doctors could diagnose diseases such as cancer by direct observation.

    Yet, when light propagates through most biological tissues, refractive index inhomogeneities cause diffuse scattering that increases with depth. This poses a major challenge to optical techniques, fundamentally limiting their biomedical usefulness to thin sections or cultured cells in vitro and superficial layers of tissue in vivo. As a result, despite many breakthroughs enabled by advances in optical imaging and optogenetics, these techniques are still severely handicapped by scattering.

    The goal of our research is to address this challenge by developing new optical techniques based on wavefront engineering and optical time reversal. These approaches, in combination with calcium imaging and electrophysiology, will enable us to study circuits of the brain that have thus far been inaccessible to noninvasive optical methods.

    Near-Future Prospects for Clinical Applications of Optogenetics

    Clinical applications for optogenetics are diverse but the field of vision restoration has shown particular promise with two clinical trials already ongoing (NCT02556736 NCT03326336). Many of the hurdles discussed in this review article are diminished in the case of treating retinal degeneration, which is the cause of most cases of blindness. Indeed, the affected cells are accessible to both light and transgene delivery, which has already contributed to the success of optogenetics to restore light sensitivity in various species (Baker and Flannery, 2018). Another promising application area is the treatment of severe epilepsy (Walker and Kullmann, 2020). In this case, traditional gene therapy, which is based on the replacement of a defective gene with a functional one, is associated with complications due to issues of dosage. Indeed, gene expression levels are difficult to control but the use of light to activate a genetically encoded channel provides a 𠇍osage dial” that can be turned up or down as need be. There is also hope that optogenetics may replace the traditional electrode-based cochlear implants used to treat certain forms of hearing loss. Although electrical stimulation has been used extensively and successfully in the cochlea, the use of light could improve upon the number of cells effectively stimulated by the implant. Spiral ganglion cells expressing an activating opsin could be illuminated by a simple LED implanted locally and restore auditory function (DiGuiseppi and Zuo, 2019). The idea of repairing muscle paralysis with light is also appealing and promising results are already emerging. Functional optical stimulation has already been demonstrated in rodents and very recently the feasibility of light stimulation of peripheral motor nerves has been shown in NHP (Williams et al., 2019).

    Applications in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease are also emerging through technologies based on neuromodulation such as opto-deep brain stimulation (Opto-DBS). Current DBS protocols are based on electrical stimulation delivered to a target brain area through a surgically implanted electrode. Despite being an approved therapy for Parkinson’s, the exact mechanism for DBS is not fully understood and protocols rely on clinical outcomes for optimization of the electrical strength and polarity of the neurostimulator. Another important issue with DBS is related to the absence of neuronal targeting during stimulation. Optical stimulation offers an attractive solution to this problem as it is possible to target the genetically encoded light-sensitive tools to particular cell types or a specific cellular compartment. Opto-DBS treatments would require the insertion of an optical probe delivering light to a large number of cells of which only a desirable fraction would respond (Lüscher et al., 2015 Gittis and Yttri, 2018).

    Chronic pain continues to be one of the most common causes of disability that impairs quality of life. It remains difficult to treat complete pain control with available drug treatment is rarely achieved and disabling side effects are common, including addiction, dependence, or even paradoxical hyperalgesia (Wang et al., 2012 Ferrini et al., 2013 Burma et al., 2017). In the context of the opioid crisis, non-pharmacological approaches for pain relief hold much therapeutic potential (Mickle and Gereau, 2018). While conventional electrical stimulation at the spinal level or in the skin show efficacy, the full potential of these approaches is not achieved because the stimulation approach is nonspecific and targets multiple cell types (e.g., different classes of sensory fibers during transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation different classes of afferents, local spinal interneurons, or ascending/descending pathways for spinal cord stimulation). Cell-specific optogenetic-based treatments for pain relief have been explored successfully in preclinical paradigms (Wang et al., 2016). Although far from being used in humans, strategies using an epidural optic fiber to deliver light to the spinal cord and sensory afferents expressing opsins are successful in mice (Bonin et al., 2016). Also, the use of miniature bio-optoelectronic implants to generate a closed loop of optoelectronic stimulation presents highly promising results in rodent models of bladder dysfunctions (Mickle et al., 2019). Translatability potential of the approach was also demonstrated by using viral transduction in dorsal root ganglion neurons in vivo (Spencer et al., 2018) but before these strategies can be safely used clinically, issues of transgene targeting remain to be completely solved.

    Neurophotonics vs. Optogenetics - Biology

    Editor-in-Chief: Anna Devor , Boston University, USA

    Neurophotonics is an open access journal covering advances in optical technology applicable to study of the brain and their impact on the basic and clinical neuroscience applications.

    How to Submit a Manuscript

    Regular papers: Submissions of regular papers are always welcome.

    Special section papers: Open calls for papers are listed below. A cover letter indicating that the submission is intended for a particular special section should be included with the paper.

    To submit a paper, please prepare the manuscript according to the journal guidelines and use the online submission system . All papers will be peer‐reviewed in accordance with the journal's established policies and procedures. Neurophotonics is an open access journal. Authors of accepted papers are required to pay an article processing charge of $1675. Discounts may apply. Click here for more details.

    Upcoming Special Sections

    Imaging Neuroimmune, Neuroglial, and Neurovascular Interfaces

    1 September 2021 (open starting 1 July 2021)

    University of Washington
    Seattle Children's Research Institute
    E-mail: [email protected]

    University of Washington
    Seattle Children's Research Institute
    Email: [email protected]

    Over the past two decades, the concept of the neurovascular unit has shaped the way we study cerebrovascular structure and function. It emphasizes the importance of relationships between vascular and perivascular cell types (endothelial cells, mural cells, astrocytes, microglia, and neurons) and how these relationships orchestrate complex processes critical to brain function, such as neurovascular coupling, establishment of vascular tone, blood &ndash brain barrier function, and immune cell entry. The advent of optical techniques to image and manipulate vascular cell types in vivo has accelerated research on these topics. It has also enhanced research in exciting new areas, including perivascular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage, meningeal lymphatic vessel function, and blood &ndash CSF barrier biology.

    This special section aims to highlight optical approaches to studying biological processes central to brain neurovascular and neuroimmune function. It considers research topics that tackle neurovascular/neuroimmune imaging in humans or any model system, in healthy conditions and disease states. Specific techniques and topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

    • In vivo single and multi-photon fluorescence imaging
    • Phosphorescence imaging
    • Photoacoustic imaging
    • Optical coherence tomography
    • Optogenetics
    • Light sheet imaging of optically cleared tissues
    • Regulation of cerebral hemodynamics and metabolism
    • Neurovascular interactions across microvascular zones
    • Interactions between neurovascular cell types
    • Immune cell &ndash vascular interaction
    • Cerebrovascular development
    • Blood &ndash brain barrier function
    • CSF &ndash brain interfaces and CSF flow
    • Lymphatic drainage
    • Imaging of subcortical vasculature and tissues

    All submissions to the special section will be handled according to the journal&rsquos policy for peer-reviewed publications. To submit a paper, please prepare the manuscript according to the journal guidelines and use the online submission system . Please include a cover letter indicating that the submission is intended for this special section.

    Neurophotonics is an open access journal. Authors of accepted papers are required to pay an article processing charge (APC) of $1675. Discounts may apply, and the APC is waived for Primer/Protocol/Review/Tutorial papers click here for more details. Accepted papers are published as soon as the copyedited and typeset proofs are approved by the author and the APC is paid.

    Hybrid Photonic/X Neurointerfaces

    1 September 2021 (open starting 1 June 2021)

    MGH/HST Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Recent advances in multimodal neurotechnologies have opened new avenues for recording and manipulation of neuronal activity. One multimodal approach relies on physical interactions between the modalities such as the sound modulating the diffraction index of biological tissues. This principle underlies the use of ultrasound (US) to steer the light and US-assisted focusing. Another approach is to combine technologies that do not interact yet serve as parallel and complementary information channels. For example, optical imaging and optogenetics have been combined with either fMRI or electrical recordings, thereby extending the spatiotemporal scale, resolution, and specificity achievable by each modality alone.

    This special section aims to highlight these hybrid photonic/X neurointerfaces including the underlying methodologies and the application of these hybrid tools to studies of brain in health and disease. We welcome a wide scope of contributions covering all paper types offered by Neurophotonics including:

    • Original research
    • Synthesis articles such as reviews and primers
    • Step-by-step protocols and tutorials
    • Informatics articles (data papers)

    We welcome submissions from efforts combining a broad range of tools to image, record, and manipulate brain structure and function across animal species and in humans. The individual modalities include but are not limited to:

    • Optogenetics
    • Optoacoustic simulation
    • Photobiomodulation
    • Ultrasound-assisted focusing
    • Single- and multiphoton fluorescent, phosphorescence and bioluminescent imaging
    • Hemodynamic, vascular and metabolic optical imaging
    • Photoacoustics
    • Microendoscopy and microfiber-based imaging
    • fMRI
    • Electrophysiological recordings with optically transparent and integrated neurophotonic probes
    • Implantable multimodal probes and interfaces for imaging, recording and closed/open loop control
    • Multimodal molecular reporters and actuators.

    All submissions to the special section will be handled according to the journal&rsquos policy for peer-reviewed publications. To submit a paper, please prepare the manuscript according to the journal guidelines and use the online submission system . Please include a cover letter indicating that the submission is intended for this special section.

    Neurophotonics is an open access journal. Authors of accepted papers are required to pay an article processing charge (APC) of $1675. Discounts may apply, and the APC is waived for Primer/Protocol/Review/Tutorial papers click here for more details. Accepted papers are published as soon as the copyedited and typeset proofs are approved by the author and the APC is paid.

    Neurophotonics vs. Optogenetics - Biology

    Editor-in-Chief: Anna Devor , Boston University, USA

    Neurophotonics is an open access journal covering advances in optical technology applicable to study of the brain and their impact on the basic and clinical neuroscience applications.

    Boston University
    Neurophotonics Center

    Anna Devor is a world leader in the field of neurovascular imaging and microscopic underpinning of noninvasive imaging signals. With a broad background in cellular and systems-level neuroscience and neuroimaging, she is devoted to training, dissemination, and neuroethics. Her research is at the forefront of optical microscopy developments that enable tools for live, high-resolution, high-sensitivity measurements of neural, glial, vascular, and metabolic parameters.

    University of Minnesota

    Dr. Akkin develops noncontact optical imaging tools to study neural structure and function. His lab uses phase- and polarization-sensitive interferometric techniques to image tissue microstructure in real time with a few-micron spatial resolution and with sub-nanometer scale optical path length resolution. Neural imaging applications of particular interest include optical tractography and action potential detection.

    National Institutes of Health
    Johns Hopkins University

    Dr. Aponte studies the role of genetically-identified neurons and their projections in behaviors that are essential for survival. Her lab aims to understand how neurons in distinct hypothalamic circuits encode nociception and the rewarding/addictive nature of food intake. The activity of these neurons in mice are manipulated and measured using optogenetics, chemogenetics, electrophysiology, fluorescence endomicroscopy, and behavioral assays.

    Nanyang Technological University

    Dr. Augustine founded the Center for Functional Connectomics at KIST (Seoul, Korea). His Synaptic Mechanisms and Circuits Laboratory employs a wide range of technologies &ndash from optical microscopy to optogenetics &ndash to map brain circuitry and molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission. Co-author of the textbook Neuroscience, Augustine is also a faculty member at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

    Dr. Buckley&rsquos research focuses on the development, validation, and clinical translation of diffuse optical spectroscopies. With early and advanced training in physics, she completed postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurology at the Children&rsquos Hospital of Philadelphia and in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

    The University of Tokyo, Japan
    The University of Alberta, Canada

    Dr. Campbell is a world leader in the use of protein engineering for the development of optogenetic tools and genetically encoded biosensors for fluorescence imaging of cell signaling and metabolism. He is particularly focused on the development of red and near-infrared fluorescent biosensors. His background includes postdoctoral training in pharmacology, as well as doctoral training in biological chemistry.

    Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

    Dr. Carp received his BS in chemistry and chemical engineering from MIT and his doctorate from UC Irvine. At UCI he developed a noncontact optoacoustic imaging system. After graduation, he moved to Massachusetts General Hospital where leads a research group that focuses on the development of medical devices for non-invasive diagnosis and treatment guidance using near-infrared light.

    University of Lausanne

    Jean-Yves Chatton received his PhD in pharmacology from the University of Lausanne, followed by post-docs at the US NIH and in Bern. His lab investigates neuron-glia interactions, mainly related to bioenergetics and ion homeostasis. Dr. Chatton develops and employs technologies in imaging, fluorescence, and optogenetics, combined with electrophysiology, in order to investigate these issues.

    Jerry L. Chen obtained his PhD in biology at MIT, following earlier training at UC Berkeley. His lab investigates relationships between local circuits and long-range networks in the mammalian neocortex. Chen investigates long-range neocortical networks, including the principles of long-range cortical communication, technologies for large-scale imaging of neuronal populations, and long-range cortical circuits during development.

    Dr. Cheng&rsquos lab specializes in developing advanced technologies in optoelectronics and photonics, including spectroscopic tools for imaging and diagnosis, as well as tools for neural modulation and laser therapy. He received the 2019 Ellis R. Lippincott Award for outstanding contributions in inventing and developing a broad spectrum of vibrational spectroscopic imaging technologies with new discoveries and clinical applications.

    Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) and Friedrich-Schiller University
    Institute of Scientific Instruments
    Czech Republic

    Dr. Čižmár's research activities are focused on photonics in optically random environments (particularly multimode fibres) and deep-tissue in-vivo imaging. A professor of waveguide optics at Friedrich-Schiller University and head of the Fibre Research & Technology Department of Leibniz IPHT in Jena, he also leads the Complex Photonics Group at the Institute of Scientific Instruments in Brno.

    University College London

    Rob Cooper's research focuses on the advancement of diffuse optical tomography and wearable neuroimaging technologies for both neuroscience and clinical applications. His primary clinical interest is the newborn infant brain he is engaged with neoLAB, an interdisciplinary collaboration between engineers and physicists at UCL and neonatologists at The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge.

    Ippeita Dan received his PhD from the University of Tokyo in 2002. A former research fellow at the National Food Research Institute, his research missions lie in clinical application of fNIRS, methodological development of fNIRS data analyses, and application of psychometrics for marketing in food-related industry.

    ICFO&mdashThe Institute of Photonic Sciences

    Dr. Durduran was trained at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009, he moved to ICFO where he leads the medical optics group. His research interests revolve around the use of diffuse light to noninvasively probe tissue function. His group develops new technologies and algorithms and routinely translates them to preclinical, clinical, and industrial applications.

    Vision Institute (CNRS/Sorbonne Université/Inserm)

    Dr. Emiliani has pioneered the use of wave-front engineering for neuroscience. She directs the Wave Front Engineering team in innovative research to develop optical methods for investigating neuronal circuits. Her team has demonstrated novel techniques based on computer generated holography, generalized phase contrast, and temporal focusing, enabling efficient photoactivation of caged compounds and optogenetics molecules.

    Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

    Dr. Fellin&rsquos Optical Approaches to Brain Function Laboratory focuses on the study of the microcircuits involved in the brain&rsquos processing of sensory information, and on the development of innovative optical methods to probe their function. He also co-directs the Neural Coding Laboratory, to advance understanding of the language the brain uses when it processes sensory inputs coming from the environment.

    Imperial College London

    Dr. Foust leads the Optical Neurophysiology Laboratory at Imperial College London. Her research aims to engineer bridges between optical technologies and neuroscientists to acquire new, ground-breaking data on how brain circuits wire, process, and store information. She develops optical and computational strategies to enable fast, volumetric, cellular-resolution manipulation and readout of membrane potential.

    Huazhong University of Science and Technology

    Ling Fu is a researcher in biomedical optics, particularly in optical endoscopy. After her PhD and postdoc at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, Ling started her lab in the Wuhan National Lab for Optoelectronics. Her research focuses on in vivo optical microscopy technologies. Fu was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society in 2019.

    National Institutes of Health

    Dr. Gandjbakhche obtained his PhD in physics with a biomedical engineering specialty from University of Paris. A senior investigator at the NIH in the Section on Translational Biophotonics, his areas of interest are using NIRS/EEG to apply to developmental disorders and diseases and using spectroscopic methods to quantify oxygenation in placenta. He is a fellow of SPIE.

    Paris Descartes University (Paris V)

    Judit Gervain&rsquos scientific interests include cognitive development, near infrared spectroscopy, and optical topography. She studies perceptual, behavioral, and neural mechanisms of early speech perception and language acquisition in young infants. She uses NIRS as well as EEG and behavioral techniques to investigate newborns and infants&rsquo perceptual, cognitive, and learning abilities.

    Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Toward understanding cognition in both the healthy and diseased brain, Dr. Gilad&rsquos lab adopts a mesoscale approach aiming to simultaneously image multiple brain areas as mice perform complex behavioral tasks involving different cognitive functions. Complementing the mesoscale approach, multi-area two-photon microscopy, optogenetics, and labeling techniques contribute to dissecting the relevant neuronal sub-populations responsible for different cognitive functions.

    Boston University

    The Han Lab seeks to discover the design principles for novel neuromodulation therapies to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders. By inventing and applying various genetic, molecular, pharmacological, optical, electrical and nano tools, Dr. Han aims to reveal the network mechanisms of brain disorders.

    Columbia University

    Dr. Hillman received training in physics and engineering at University College London. A fellow of SPIE, OSA, and AIMBE, she has developed a wide range of multi-scale in-vivo imaging methods for high-speed 3D imaging of neural activity. She also uses these methods to understand blood flow in the brain, to improve human brain imaging.

    Central Michigan University

    Dr. Hochgeschwender received her MD degree from the Free University in Berlin, Germany, and pursued postdoctoral training in molecular and cellular immunology and molecular neuroscience. Her research combines optogenetics with bioluminescence, developing tools that use biological light to activate light-sensing opsins and applying them to investigate the mechanisms of and potential for non-invasive treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases.

    Washington University in St. Louis

    Song Hu develops cutting-edge optical and photoacoustic technologies for in vivo structural, functional, metabolic, and molecular imaging for applications in neurovascular disorders, cardiovascular diseases, regenerative medicine, and cancer. Hu&rsquos lab invented multi-parametric photoacoustic microscopy, which enables simultaneous imaging of blood perfusion, oxygenation and flow at the microscopic level.

    University of California, Berkeley

    Using concepts developed in astronomy and optics, Dr. Ji&rsquos lab at UC Berkeley develops next-generation optical microscopy methods for understanding the brain at higher resolution, greater depth, and faster time scales. Those imaging technologies are applied to understanding neural circuit computation in the visual pathways, using the mouse primary visual cortex and superior colliculus as model systems.

    University of Minnesota

    The Kara Lab solves puzzles in sensory perception and neurovascular coupling in the mammalian brain, using two-photon and three-photon imaging, optogenetics, and electrophysiological techniques in vivo. Dr. Kara obtained his early training in Physiology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his PhD in physiology and biophysics from the University of Alabama&ndashBirmingham, with a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

    Beop-Min Kim's research interests include fNIRS and OCT applications in neuroscience, as well as confocal microscopy, diffuse optical tomography, and nonlinear optics (second harmonic generation). With a background in biomedical engineering, he was formerly with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a research fellow in biomedical optics. He is a senior member of SPIE.

    University of California, Davis

    Dr. Kuzum&rsquos lab takes inspiration directly from the brain to create efficient computers and electronic brain interfaces, advancing understanding of brain functions and neural disorders. In recognition of her innovative research, she has received numerous awards, including the NIH Director's New Innovator Award in 2020, and both the NIH NIBIB Trailblazer Award and the NSF Career Award in 2018.

    Dr. Lecoq has an engineering degree from ESPCI-ParisTech, a French multidisciplinary engineering school and a PhD in Neuroscience from Paris-Sorbonne University. Dr. Lecoq splits his time between building novel neuro-technologies (surgical, instrumental and computational tools) to monitor neuronal activity and developing the OpenScope platform, the first Brain Observatory shared with the Neuroscience community.

    University of Campinas

    Rickson Mesquita&rsquos research advances diffuse optics for biomedical applications. His interests span from fNIRS/DCS instrumentation and data analysis to the translation of these techniques to clinical settings. He is also interested in biophysical modeling of optical data. Areas of research include light transport in diffusive media, optical properties of tissues, and functional imaging and spectroscopy of living tissues.

    University of British Columbia

    Tim&rsquos lab develops new imaging and optogenetic methods that have parallels to human brain imaging and stimulation tools, contributing to understanding the stroke recovery process on a circuit level. Using mouse models, he extends these approaches to mouse models of psychiatric disorders. To facilitate circuit interrogation in vivo, the lab develops high-throughput models which automate animal imaging.

    University of Bordeaux

    Valentin Nägerl received his PhD in neuroscience at UCLA, then trained with Tobias Bonhoeffer and Arthur Konnerth in Munich and Stefan Hell in Göttingen, making several crucial observations on activity-dependent structural plasticity of synapses. His team develops and applies super-resolution imaging techniques to uncover the nanoscale mechanisms of neural plasticity in the living mouse brain.

    Dr. Nishimura&rsquos lab develops tools for imaging the contributions of multiple physiological systems to diseases. Using multiphoton microscopy to image cell dynamics in living rodents, and femtosecond laser ablation with quantitative analysis to dissect functions, her team studies living systems in their full complexity, comparing dynamics across multiple organ systems and diseases.

    University of Florence

    Francesco Pavone develops microscopy techniques for high resolution, high sensitivity imaging, and laser manipulation. These techniques have been applied for single molecule biophysics, single cell imaging, and optical manipulation. Pavone also works in the field of neural and cardiac tissue imaging, developing new techniques based on imaging and spectroscopic content to connect structure and functionality.

    Darcy Peterka strives to develop and deploy cutting-edge optical and algorithmic methods to record and manipulate the activity of brain cells, or neurons. He also brings together and collaborates with interdisciplinary teams that combine advances in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and statistics to bear on complex and challenging questions about the brain and its functions.

    Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

    Dr. Pisanello received a PhD in physics from the University Pierre et Marie Curie in 2011, following his MD degree from the University of Salento. Senior scientist at the Italian Institute of Technologies, he coordinates the Multifunctional Neural Interfaces lab at the Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies in Lecce. His research strives to develop new technologies to interface with the brain.

    New optical array, multisite stimulator advances optogenetics

    In an article published in the peer-reviewed, open-access SPIE publication Neurophotonics, "A multi-site microLED optrode array for neural interfacing," researchers present an implantable optrode array capable of exciting below-surface neurons in large mammal brains at two levels, both by structured-light delivery and large-volume illumination. This development is promising for studies aiming to link neural activity to specific cognitive functions in large mammals.

    While other optogenetic devices have been previously developed, this latest innovation addresses a multitude of ongoing challenges and improvements when it comes to optical stimulation and neuroscience in large animal models. Enhanced elements include depth of access, heat control, and an electric delivery system compatible with future wireless applications. This is achieved by connecting a glass needle array to a custom-built microLED array and creating a compact and lightweight device optimally suited for behavioral studies.

    This new technology heralds exciting potential for new mammalian behavioral discoveries, according to Neurophotonics Associate Editor Anna Wang Roe, a professor in the Division of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and director of the Interdisciplinary Institute of Neuroscience and Technology at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. "The development of a large array multisite optical stimulator is a significant advance in the field of optogenetics and optical stimulation," she said. "Having this array will lead to the ability to stimulate multiple cortical sites simultaneously or sequentially, in a cell-type specific manner. It may also open up the possibility of stimulating with different wavelengths, and therefore different cell types, at selected locations. This capability broadens the menu of possible stimulation paradigms for brain-machine interface."

    Post-doctoral position in Systems Neuroscience and Optogenetics

    Please sign up with Science HR to see all job details. If you already have a Science HR, LinkedIn or Google account:

    Read more about Science HR jobs here.


    Job description

    The Neurophotonics and Mechanical Systems Biology research group , led by Prof. Michael Krieg at ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Barcelona, is looking for a well-qualified, highly motivated and dynamic young scientist who wishes to enhance his/her scientific career in an international, friendly and stimulating environment.

    The successful candidate will be joining the Neurophotonics and Mechanical Systems Biology group, which has ample experience in C. elegans molecular systems biology, neuroscience and optogenetics. We work highly interdisciplinary at the interface of biology, physics and engineering, using a plethora of advanced experimental techniques, backed by computational methods. The repertoire of available resources includes high-resolution microscopes, animal facilities, and access to ICFO&rsquos state-of-the-art light microscopy facilities (SLN and Nikon&rsquos Center of excellence), or the Nanofabrication lab (&muFluidic Foundry) and the Advanced Engineering Lab, including Mechanical Workshop.

    For further information about the research group please see here, or contact Prof. Michael Krieg ( [email protected] ).

    During the course of this project we strive to establish a prosthetic optogenetic neurotransmitter system that is capable to overcome defects in chemical synaptic transmission, with possible applications to overcome disease. Specific tasks include the generation of cell-specific CRISPR mutants in C. elegans and cell specific expression of optogenetic probes in various neuronal mini-circuits.

    Candidate requirements

    Candidates must hold an internationally-recognized Ph.D.-equivalent degree (or evidence of its completion in the nearest future), preferably in molecular genetics, neuroscience or bioengineering. Physicists with strong desire to learn molecular biology and genetic tools are encouraged to apply.

    Suitable candidates should have:

    • Experience in optogenetics, neuroscience or molecular genetics.
    • Prior experience with C. elegans or mammalian tissue culture is considered an asset.
    • Previous experience in calcium or voltage imaging is desired but not necessary.
    • Graduating or newly graduated Ph.D. with strong experience in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and/or neuroscience, are encouraged to apply.

    No restrictions of citizenship apply to the ICFO positions. Female scientists are encouraged to apply.

    About the employer

    ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences (, member of The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, is a research centre located in a specially designed, 14.000 m2-building situated in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. It currently hosts 400 people, including research group leaders, post-doctoral researchers, PhD students, research engineers, and staff. ICFOnians are organized in 25 research groups working in 60 state-of-the-art research laboratories, equipped with the latest experimental facilities and supported by a range of cutting-edge facilities for nanofabrication, characterization, imaging and engineering.

    The Severo Ochoa distinction awarded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, as well as 14 ICREA Professorships, 18 European Research Council grants and 6 Fundació Cellex Barcelona Nest Fellowships, demonstrate the centre&rsquos dedication to research excellence, as does the institute&rsquos consistent appearance in top worldwide positions in international rankings. From an industrial standpoint, ICFO participates actively in the European Technological Platform Photonics21 and is also very proactive in fostering entrepreneurial activities and spin-off creation. The centre participates in incubator activities and seeks to attract venture capital investment. ICFO hosts an active Corporate Liaison Program that aims at creating collaborations and links between industry and ICFO researchers. To date, ICFO has created 5 successful start-up companies, with additional initiatives in various stages of incubation.

    Author information


    Department of Developmental Biology and Neuroscience, Tohoku University Graduate School of Life Sciences, Sendai, 980-8577, Japan

    Shoko Hososhima, Toru Ishizuka, Mohammad Razuanul Hoque & Hiromu Yawo

    Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama, 226-8501, Japan

    Department of Neuroscience II, Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, 464-8601, Nagoya, Japan

    Takayuki Yamashita & Akihiro Yamanaka

    Department of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience, Iwate University Graduate School of Engineering, 4-3-5 Ueda, Morioka, 020-8551, Iwate, Japan

    Eriko Sugano & Hiroshi Tomita

    Clinical Research, Innovation and Education Center, Tohoku University Hospital, 1-1 Seiryo, Aoba, Sendai, 980-8574, Miyagi, Japan

    Center for Neuroscience, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, 980-8575, Japan


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