Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Francesca Kim.
2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: undeclared
Mentor: Karl Deisseroth, Bioengineering and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

“Development of Interface for Minimally Invasive Deep Brain Optogenetic Stimulation”

Optogenetics is a tool that utilizes light-gated ion channel proteins called Channelrhodopsins (ChRs) to achieve precise spatiotemporal control of neural activity. A lingering issue with this tool is the need for invasive surgeries and the implantation of materials required to deliver visible light to the brain. Francesca’s project seeks to develop a minimally invasive optogenetic interface that allows for better mechanistic understanding of neuronal circuit function, with minimal damage to the brain. Francesca’s goal is to demonstrate the possibility for deep brain optogenetics without the need for invasive implantation and direct deep brain viral injections.