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  • 1 August 2013 to 31 March 2014
  • Awards: Pump-priming Awards

Optogenetics is an experimental technique involving the use of light to control cells in living tissues, which have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels. This approach has provided tremendous insights into how the brain works, but has been used much less extensively in other systems, such as the vasculature. We have now established optogenetics in blood vessels. A main outcome of this work is to aid the discovery of new drugs that could counteract experimentally-induced vasoconstriction. We also intend to explore the therapeutic potential of light-sensitive ion channels that could promote arterial dilation. These channels could potentially be used therapeutically in conditions such as angina pectoris or hypertension. 

Publication linked to this award:

  1. Rorsman NJG, Ta CM, Garnett H, Swietach P, Tammaro P (2018) Defining the ionic mechanisms of optogenetic control of vascular tone by channelrhodopsin-2. Br J Pharmacol. doi: 10.1111/bph.14183. [Epub ahead of print]