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... On the Cusp of Revolutionary Advances

BioPhotonics
Oct 2013
Karen A. Newman, Group Publisher, karen.newman@photonics.com

More than 30,000 neuroscientists and related professionals from some 80 countries will report on brain breakthroughs – progress in treating diseases and disorders of the brain; novel understanding of how life experiences, personal decisions and social environments influence brain health and wellness; and new insights into how the brain functions and develops – when they gather Nov. 9-13 in San Diego for the 43rd annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

“Aided by new technology and scientific innovations, neuroscience is on the cusp of revolutionary advances,” said society president Larry Swanson in a recent release.

Among the featured speakers is Dr. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, who will talk about creativity and the mind in a lecture called “Dialogues between Neuroscience and Society.” Other topics will include “Brain Wellness,” “Beyond Genetics,” “Overcoming Addiction: Can We Rewire the Brain?” and more.

Managing Editor Laura Marshall and I will be at the meeting looking for the advances in light-based technologies in studying the brain – and the impact of these advances. You can find copies of recent issues of BioPhotonics at Photonics Media, booth 117.

And, speaking of advances in light-based technologies for neuroscience, the features in this issue are all about the brain. In the article, “Neuroscience Drives Advances in Lasers for Multiphoton Imaging,” Darryl McCoy and Marco Arrigoni of Coherent Inc. explain how multiphoton microscopy has become the key application for neuroscience due to both its high funding level and the technical requirement to provide neuronal images in the cortex of living animals. The article begins on page 23.

Although current applications of VCSELs focus on in vitro diagnosis and preclinical animal studies, new imaging techniques can also be used in clinical settings to study the brain in action, according to Dr. Ofer Levi of the University of Toronto. In his feature, beginning on page 28, “VCSEL-Based Imaging System Monitors Brain Activity,” Levi relates how high spatial and temporal resolution has made optical imaging a desirable alternative to commonly used high-cost clinical imaging techniques such as functional MRI, positron emission tomography or single-photon emission computed tomography.

In the feature, “Optical Filters Improve Precision, Accuracy for Neuroscience,” Stephan Briggs of Edmund Optics writes that optogenetics is hugely promising for migraines, blindness and other neurological disorders. The feature starts on page 33.

Revolutionary advances in neuroscience are coming, and biophotonics will help usher them in.

GLOSSARY
optogenetics
A discipline that combines optics and genetics to enable the use of light to stimulate and control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, which have been genetically modified to respond to light. Only the cells that have been modified to include light-sensitive proteins will be under control of the light. The ability to selectively target cells gives researchers precise control. Using light to control the excitation, inhibition and signaling pathways of specific cells or groups of cells...
AmericasBiophotonicsbrain functionbrain healthbrain wellnessCoherentcreativityDarryl McCoyEd CatmullEditorialEdmund OpticsFiltersimagingKaren A. NewmanLarry SwansonlasersLaura MarshallMarco Arrigonimultiphoton imagingmultiphoton microscopyneuronal imagesneuroscience and societyOfer Leviopticsoptogeneticsovercoming addictionSociety for NeuroscienceStephen BriggsVCSEL-based imaging

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