A turn-key optogenetics and electrophysiology measurement system

Period of Performance: 09/01/2015 - 05/31/2016


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Pinnacle Technology, Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of this project is to design and commercialize tethered and wireless turn-key optogenetics and electrophysiological/neurotransmitter/behavior measurement systems for use in mice and rats. Optogenetics harnesses a combination of genetic and optical methods to directly control neuronal events in specific cells of the central nervous system. These methods are broadly applicable, but can be specifically used to provide an unprecedented understanding of cortical activity and aging. The optogenetics field is maturing and there are numerous commercial sources for optogenetic components;however, the technique requires a multidisciplinary skill set including chemistry, optics, physiology, electronics, mechanics, software, and systems analysis. To date, any single experiment requires a system designed from individual, component parts. Many researchers also have existing equipment that they desire to incorporate into a full optogenetics system. This may include lasers, cameras and potentially behavioral hardware and software platforms. In these situations, a digital timing protocol (TTL) is often used to maintain synchronization, but there are subtleties (device latency, etc.) to this approach that are often overlooked. The proposed system will be capable of delivering multiple, selectable wavelengths of light to one or more specific brain regions while simultaneously recording electrical signals, neurotransmitters and behavior in rodents throughout the lifespan of the animal. All synchronization between the electrophysiological, mechanical and visual inputs, and optical and stimulus outputs will be precisely controlled via a master timing, digital input/output platform as well as sophisticated software timing techniques. The LED fiber probe connects via a simple electrical connection to a headstage. This removes the need for fiber optic rotary joints and enables precise control of the amount of light delivered. When completed, this system will significantly improve scientific knowledge by providing a turn-key solution for researchers from multiple fields to seamlessly integrate optogenetic control alongside traditional pharmaceutical, aging and other studies.