Optogenetic Tools to Study Peripheral Neural Circuits

Date(s) - 11/04/2019
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Communicore, C1-17

Aaron Mickle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

Optogenetics is a powerful technique that has transformed the field of neuroscience by allowing unprecedented temporal and spatial control of neuronal activity. This technology has enabled major advancements in mapping complex neuronal circuits and in understanding the functional significance of individual cell types within these circuits. Optogenetic approaches have been broadly applied to studies of the brain, but implementation of these techniques in the peripheral nervous system has developed more slowly due to challenges in delivering light to these structures. This seminar will review strategies for opsin expression in peripheral tissues, as well as developments we have made in implantable, wireless light sources that have opened the door to a variety of studies applying optogenetics outside the brain.

Bio: Aaron Mickle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences, in the college of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.  He received my PhD in pharmacology from the University of Iowa under the mentorship of Dr. DP Mohapatra studying nociceptor sensitization in the context of metastasized cancer pain. He completed his postdoc at Washington University in Saint Louis with Dr. Robert Gereau, were he collaborated with material, electrical and biomedical engineers to develop closed-loop optogenetic based neuromodulatory technologies. His current research focuses on incorporating multiple techniques at the system and cellular level to answer questions related to mechanisms of visceral pain and function.