PainRelief Through Optogenetics: Scientists Make Flexible Gel to Deliver Light to Peripheral Nerves Interview with:
Xinyue Liu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Michigan State University
Siyuan Rao, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Biomedical Engineering Department
Binghamton University, SUNY

Dr. Liu What is the background for this study?

Response: The background lies in the field of optogenetics and its application to the study and modulation of pain perception. Optogenetics is a powerful tool that allows precise control of neural cell populations using light. It has been widely used in neuroscience to investigate how different cells in the brain and nervous system function and how their activity can be modulated. Specifically, in the context of pain research, optogenetics offers the potential to explore the neural mechanisms underlying pain perception and to develop new therapeutic interventions for pain management.

However, one of the challenges in applying optogenetics to the study of pain and nociceptive circuits is the delivery of light to peripheral nerves that experience mechanical strain during locomotion. Traditional light-delivery devices made from rigid materials, such as glass fibers, are not well-suited for this purpose. They can impede the natural behaviors of animals and may cause tissue damage when used in dynamic conditions.

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