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Funded Studies

Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD

Associate Professor at Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA United States

Dr. Deisseroth graduated from Harvard College and received his MD and PhD from Stanford, as well as his psychiatry residency training. He continues as associate professor of bioengineering and psychiatry at Stanford. He was the PI and senior author on the first paper bringing microbial opsins to neuroscience (Nature Neuroscience 8,1263-1268, 2005). He also was the PI and senior author on the Nature article showing bidirectional optical control with multiple opsins in intact tissue and behaving animals (Nature 446, 633-639, 2007). PI on the first description of the fiberoptic/laser diode method and optrode methods that allow this technology to work in freely-moving mammalian neurobehavioral models (Journal of Neural Engineering 4, S143- SI56, 2007; Journal of Neuroscience 27:14231-8 2007; Nature 450:420-424, 2007), and co-PI on the first application to freely moving mammals(modulating sleep-wake transitions by targeting hypocretin/orexin neurons in the lateral hypothalamus; Nature 450:420-424, 2007). He has led the development of methods for integrating fast imaging and electrophysiology with fast optical control (Nature 446, 633-639, 2007; .Journal of Neuroscience 27:14231-8 2007; Science 31 7, 819-823, 2007) to provide high-speed circuit level readouts of neural tissue activity. He also has carried out extensive molecular engineering for new opsin functions: he was PI on the development of the third microbial opsin (a yellow light-activated channelrhodopsin) that provides a crucial separate major channel of fast optical control for combinatorial recruitment of cell populations (Nature Neuroscience, 11:631-3 2008), PI on the bistable ("step-function") opsin paper, that allows cells to be switched into and out of stable excitable states with only brief single flashes of light (Nature Neuroscience, 12:2, 229-34) and PI on the optoXR paper that describes optical recruitment of defined signaling cascades in vivo (Nature 458: 1025-9 2009). He has also led the application of these methods to scientific and medical questions, as PI on the first application of optogenetics to brain disease (Parkinson's Disease, in Science 324:354-9, 2009), PI on the first application to control of dopamine neurons in vivo and brain reward mechanisms (Science 324:1080-4, 2009), and PI on the first biological application of optogenetically controlling specific brain rhythms and specific interneurons (parvalbumin neurons and gamma rhythms relevant to neural synchronization and information transmission; Nature 459:698-702,2009; Nature 459:663-7).

Associated Grants

  • Developing Circuit-Targeting Optogenetic Strategies for Pre-Clinical Model Motor Circuitry


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