School of Engineering


Enhancing the photostimulation kinetics of channelrhodopsin-2 encoded neurons

In this research project, I propose to use the novel LED technology to develop a better understanding of the nature of the channelrhodopsin2 (ChR2) kinetics when expressed in neuron cells. I intend to take photostimulated electrophysiological measurements of ChR2 encoded cells in tandem with biophysical modelling of the ChR2. The key objectives are as follows: 1. Develop stably transfected ChR2 cell lines: I will develop ChR2 encoded neuronal cells and bacteria to perform the subsequent experiments. 2. Channelrhodopsin spectroscopy: I will do spectroscopic studies on the excited states of ChR2 to ascertain the potential for optical enhanced recovery. 3. Investigate sub-threshold pulse stimulation: I will use high speed short pulse LED stimulation to look at the sub(depolarisation) threshold kinetics of the ChR2 encoded cells. 4. Investigate subcellular multi-domain stimulation: I will use my novel LED array technology to stimulate multiple subcellular features simultaneously. This will allow me to investigate their relative contributions. 5. Investigate red-shifted recovery of the ChR2. To complement the spectroscopic studies, I intend to investigate the use of red shifted light to hasten the recovery of the channelrhodopsin chromophore. 6. Model the kinetic limits of the ChR2 for stimulating neuron cells: Develop an empirical model to define what is and what is not possible with ChR2 as a result of the above experiments.