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The Future of Research Symposium Boston 2015

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 20, 2015 10:30:00 AM

The second Boston Symposium on the Future of Research will be held from 22-24 October. This blog has been contributed by guest blogger and Future of Research Symposium organizer, David T. Riglar PhD. Here, Dr. Riglar discusses one of the six panel discussions to be held at the Future of Research Symposium Boston 2015 – Academic Data and the Labor Market. For more information on the symposium as a whole and for registration please go to http://futureofresearch.org/boston/.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

Important Considerations in Optogenetics Behavioral Experiments

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 1, 2015 10:30:00 AM

This post is part of our Primer on Optogenetics and was contributed by guest blogger Derek Simon.

The actual experiments you do will be determined by the topic you’re interested in studying, but, in today’s post, we’ll discuss some of the important considerations you should think about when developing optogenetics behavioral experiments. There are far too many behaviors that have utilized optogenetics to be fully summarized in a short blog post, but some examples I’m personally interested in include: intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and place preference. The lab I work in (the Kreek lab) focuses on the neurobiology of addictive diseases, which means we are interested in circuits that mediate drug taking behavior. If a circuit reinforces behavior (activation of the circuit promotes subsequent, repeated activation), this is an approximation of reward or the sense of pleasure that the animal perceives through taking a drug. The ideal behaviors to test reinforcement are ICSS and place preference.

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Topics: Optogenetics, Lab Tips, Primer on Optogenetics

The Materials Science of Optogenetics Experiments

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sep 17, 2015 10:30:00 AM

This post is part of our Primer on Optogenetics and was contributed by guest blogger Derek Simon.

The surgeries and standard molecular neuroscience validation experiments we discussed last week are only half of the battle when using optogentics to answer a research question. The flip side of the optogenetics coin is materials science-based. Light is delivered to your opsin through a small piece of fiber optic cable implanted into the animal’s skull (right). The fiber optic cable is threaded throughand fixed to—an optical insulator called a ferrule (below). The fiber optic cable/ferrule is inserted into the target brain region using stereotaxic surgery and cemented to the animal’s skull using dental cement (a similar procedure as implanting a guide cannula). A fiber optic patch cable is then connected from laser to ferrule to deliver light pulses to the target brain region.

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Topics: Optogenetics, Techniques, Primer on Optogenetics

A Primer on Optogenetics: Introduction and Opsin Delivery

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sep 10, 2015 10:30:00 AM

This post is part of our Primer on Optogenetics and was contributed by guest blogger Derek Simon.

Optogenetics is spreading through the neuroscience community like wildfire and for good reason. For the first time in the history of neuroscience research we have a technology that allows us to show causality in neural circuits with incredible temporal and spatial precision (I’m not going to discuss the basic biology of optogenetics so if you are not familiar with it, these reviews are an excellent introduction [1-3] and openoptogenetics provides a variety of useful resources).

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Topics: Optogenetics, Primer on Optogenetics

How to Negotiate a Successful Lab Start Up Budget

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sep 1, 2015 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by Damien Wilpitz founder and lead consutant at Experiment Designs Consulting, Inc.

“How much do you need [for your lab start up]?” A hiring chair or dean will often ask a faculty candidate. Sweaty palms. Heart racing. Cotton mouth.The candidate may find it difficult to answer and these are all symptoms of a negotiation, especially when money is involved. However, it doesn’t have to be this way, if you know what you need.

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