Public Release: 

SfN to host virtual conference on next generation optogenetics

First-of-its-kind event will explore power and applications of optogenetics with leading experts

Society for Neuroscience

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is hosting a virtual conference exploring the power and applications of optogenetics and drawing together leading researchers in the field to examine how this technology is revolutionizing neuroscience. The virtual conference will be held Thursday, September 20, 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EDT.

Leading experts including Dr. Ed Boyden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and keynote speaker Dr. Karl Deisseroth, will discuss cutting-edge topics, such as the development of new and innovative opsins, the use of optogenetics to understand circuit dysfunctions underlying human disease, and applications of optogenetics in different species.

"We are thrilled with the level of enthusiasm we have received from speakers and those planning to attend this first-of-its-kind event with pioneers in the field," said SfN President Richard Huganir. "Optogenetics techniques continue to gain momentum as they can be used in the lab to develop new approaches to treat various neurological disorders, hearing impairments, and retinal diseases. By bringing together leaders in the optogenetics field we are setting the stage for a lively dialogue and an exchange of new data and innovative ideas."

Organized by Dr. Alexandra Nelson, University of California, San Francisco and Veronica Alvarez, National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Program/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the virtual conference serves as the culmination to an inaugural series of SfN's training modules on optogenetics, developed in partnership with global neuroscience leaders.

In addition, training modules have been also been developed by Dr. Nelson, Alvarez, and Kamran Khodakhah, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, to include video presentations, written resource lists, laboratory demonstration videos and question and answer opportunities with experts.

Conference session topics include:

  • Development of next generation opsins and technologies.
  • Integration of optogenetics with complementary techniques, including electrophysiology, imaging of calcium and membrane potential, anatomical methods, and behavior.
  • The utility of optogenetics in different species, including Drosophila, zebrafish, and non-human primates.
  • Potential emerging clinical and therapeutic applications of optogenetics tools.


In addition to Dr. Boyden and Dr. Deisseroth and the conference organizers, conference speakers include Viviana Gradinaru, Caltech; Michael R. Bruchas, University of Washington; Yoon Seok Kim, Stanford University; Dr. Bernardo Sabatini, Harvard Medical School; Liqun Luo, Stanford University; Talia N. Lerner, Northwestern University; Vanessa Ruta, Rockefeller University; Misha Ahrens, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus; Azadeh Yazdan-Shahmorad. University of Washington; Dr. Robert Malenka, Stanford University; Ian A. Oldenburg, University of California, Berkeley; Allison E. Girasole, University of California, San Francisco; Linlin Fan, Harvard University; Shuo Chen, RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan; Ana I. Domingos, Oxford University; and Dr. Philip A. Starr, University of California, San Francisco.

A special conference rate of $50 is available for SfN members. Registration for non-SfN members is $150. To view the full agenda or register for the virtual conference, visit Learn more about membership.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 36,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.