Skip to content Skip to navigation

Photopharmacology and the Restoration of Vision - Dirk Trauner

June 13, 2014 - 12:00pm
HEPL Conference Room, Physics & Astrophysics Building, Room 102
Photopharmacology and the Restoration of Vision Dr. Dirk Trauner University of Munich

Abstract:  Light can be used to control biological events with unmatched temporal and spatial precision. A case in point is optogenetics, which is currently revolutionizing neuroscience. Optogenetics relies on natural photoreceptors that typically employ retinal as the chromophore. Recently, the incorporation of synthetic photoswitches, such as azobenzenes, into naturally “blind” receptors has been explored as well. These molecules can bind covalently or non-covalently to a wide variety of proteins, including ion channels, GPCRs, enzymes and molecular motors, effectively turning them into photoreceptors. As such, photoswitchable molecules add another dimension to pharmacology. I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of photopharmacology and its potential in biology and medicine, in particular with respect to restoring vision. In addition, I would like to debate the usefulness of synthetic photoswitches as transducers on the mind-machine interface

Dr. Dirk Trauner’s website 

Hosted by:  Professor Kwabena Boahen and Professor E.J. Chichilnisky