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Klaus Wanisch

Klaus Wanisch is an Outreach Scientist at Addgene. These days he's doing a lot of science communication, and is particularly excited to hear about novel developments in the fields of gene and cellular therapies.

Recent Posts

Deciphering the Mysteries of Behavior with Viral Vectors

Posted by Klaus Wanisch on Sep 17, 2019 8:40:54 AM

Over the past decades, neuroscientists have made great strides to map brain regions and allocate specific functions to them. Electrical recordings and lesioning studies have been essential for this task. However, most lesioning methods destroy areas larger than intended and may unintentionally remove connecting pathways between other distant regions. They also don’t give any clues about the types of neurons involved or whether their involvement is activating, inhibiting, or modulating. Viral vectors, in contrast, are considerably more versatile and specific in how they manipulate neuronal function, with far fewer side effects compared to lesioning methods -  they may be the key to further unraveling the mysteries of behavior.

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Topics: Viral Vectors, Neuroscience

Getting Started with Behavioral Neuroscience: Standardizing Experiments and Using Viral Vectors

Posted by Klaus Wanisch on Aug 20, 2019 8:31:11 AM

The aim of behavioral neuroscience is to define brain areas that are linked to a certain behavior. It is a very old branch of science, dating back several hundred years, with historical ties to psychology and philosophy (the mind-body problem). Because of the availability of tools for genetic manipulations, mice have become the model of choice for many behavioral studies, though other organisms such as rats or zebrafish are also used. With the development of viral vectors, behavioral neuroscientists can now precisely control where and when certain genes are expressed to investigate their role in a specific behavior. This blog post will give an introduction to behavioral neuroscience, and address experimental design considerations used in all behavioral studies.

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Topics: Viral Vectors, Neuroscience

Improving Transduction Efficiency with Exosome AAVs

Posted by Klaus Wanisch on Mar 14, 2019 9:54:29 AM

Standard AAV vectors are generated with a producer cell line like the widely used 293T. During vector production, assembled AAV vector particles accumulate inside the producer cells and purification protocols often describe a process that begins with cell lysis to release AAV particles with subsequent purification steps. It’s also possible for AAV vectors to be spontaneously released from the producer cells into the supernatant during the production phase. However, this has not been well characterized as it is not a common event.

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Topics: Viral Vectors, Viral Vector Protocols and Tips

Using AAV for neuronal tracing

Posted by Klaus Wanisch on Aug 9, 2018 9:04:52 AM

Background on neuronal tracing

A key aspect to understanding the brain’s function is knowing its architecture, in particular the connections between different brain regions. For example, communication between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex brain regions is involved in the formation of episodic memory, a special type of memory which includes autobiographical events (see Jin & Maren, 2015). Directional flow of information between different parts of the brain is mediated via individual neurons. Neurons are composed of a cell body, with dendrites receiving incoming information, and a projecting axon sending information onwards to other neuronal cells. Synapses at the terminals of axons form connections to dendrites of proximal neuronal cells. In the specific example of episodic memory, a subset of hippocampal neurons projects axons directly to the prefrontal cortex, but also indirectly via synapses to neurons in other brain regions. Further, the connections between regions are often reciprocal, forming a neuronal loop which is activated and strengthened during memory formation and memory retrieval.

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Topics: Viral Vectors, Cell Tracing, Other Viral Vector Tools

Career Insights: Technical Support Specialist

Posted by Klaus Wanisch on Nov 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A degree in the life sciences prepares one for numerous non-academic careers. Still, many start their scientific careers hoping to follow the traditional academic route (find tips for getting a faculty position here). Possible roadblocks only become obvious at rather late stages (i.e. postdoc level) and can include the pressure to publish in high-impact journals, and the requirement for a high grant success rate. At this point, candidates are highly experienced but often have to start pursuing other options.

While some non-academic career options require additional study for late career scientists to become more appealing on the job market (e.g. a postgraduate degree in law, an MBA, or similar), there are many roles out there that require exactly what life science PhDs can offer: vast practical lab expertise, experience in different scientific fields, and knowledge of how to troubleshoot problems at the bench. Specifically, roles in technical support make excellent use of the skills developed by life science PhDs.

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Topics: Science Careers, Science Career Options

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