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Building things in brains: Chemical constructions for analysis and discovery

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Building things in brains: Chemical constructions for analysis and discovery

21 October 2020

12:00 p.m. ET

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Unmatched in its complexity, the brain may be the final frontier of biomedical research. In this webinar Dr. Karl Deisseroth, a neuroscientist, bioengineer and psychiatrist, will discuss the principles and practice of a powerful new way of interacting with complex biological systems. Over the past 7 years, an in situ chemical synthesis approach to biological systems has emerged from his laboratory, and has been further developed and applied around the world, in which functional materials are assembled within tissues such as the brain—either constructed throughout the intact tissue [hydrogel-tissue chemistry (HTC)], or genetically targeted to cell types [genetically targeted chemical assembly (GTCA)].

The resulting hybrid materials are endowed with diverse capabilities, including anchoring and labeling of RNA and protein, in situ sequencing (as with STARmap), tissue transparency, reversible size changes (swelling/expanding or shrinking/contracting), and electrical insulation or conduction.

In this talk we will discuss the principles and practice of this powerful new way of interacting with complex biological systems, which involves reimagining and transforming the system with integrated optical, genetic, and chemistry methodologies.

During the webinar, viewers will:

  • Learn about GTCA as well as HTC and its variants (including STARmap)
  • Discover how 3D, intact-tissue RNA sequencing can lead to a greater understanding of brain physiology and behavior
  • Gain insight into how these techniques may help improve understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions during the live broadcast.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Speaker bios

Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D.

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Dr. Deisseroth is the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from Stanford University. He also completed his postdoctoral training, medical internship, and adult psychiatry residency at Stanford, and he is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He continues as a practicing psychiatrist at Stanford with specialization in affective disorders and autism-spectrum disease, employing medications along with neural stimulation. Over the last 16 years, his laboratory has created and developed optogenetics, hydrogel-tissue chemistry (beginning with CLARITY), and a broad range of enabling methods. He has also employed his technologies to discover the neural cell types and connections that cause adaptive and maladaptive behaviors, and has disseminated these technologies to thousands of laboratories around the world. Among other honors, Dr. Deisseroth was the sole recipient for optogenetics of the 2010 Koetser Award, the 2010 Nakasone Prize, the 2011 Alden Spencer Prize, the 2013 Richard Lounsbery Award, the 2014 Dickson Prize in Science, the 2015 Keio Prize, the 2015 Lurie Prize, the 2015 Albany Prize, the 2015 Dickson Prize in Medicine, the 2017 Redelsheimer Prize, the 2017 Fresenius Prize, the 2017 NOMIS Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2018 Eisenberg Prize, the 2018 Kyoto Prize, and the 2020 Heineken Prize in Medicine from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. For his discoveries, Deisseroth has also received the Perl Prize (2012), the BRAIN Prize (2013), the Pasarow Award (2013), the Breakthrough Prize (2015), the BBVA Award (2016), the Massry Prize (2016), and the Harvey Prize from the Technion/Israel Institute of Technology (2017). He was selected a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2013 and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine in 2010, to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2012, and to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2019.

Mark Browne, Ph.D.

Andor Technology
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Dr. Browne graduated in applied physics from University of Edinburgh in 1975 and then spent 2 years with Marconi GEC Research Labs working in the materials application group. He went on to study at the University of Reading, receiving his Ph.D. in engineering sciences in 1981. In 1981 he joined the staff of the Department of Instrumentation and Analytical Science (DIAS), University of Manchester, where he remained for 10 years building a research team in optical instrumentation and image processing. In December 1991, after a short period as professor of engineering sciences at the University of Lancaster, he cofounded Kinetic Imaging and left academia. The company focused on the creation of imaging solutions for life sciences. He spent the next 12 years as managing director of Kinetic, leading the company and its product development. In 2003, he moved to North Carolina to establish a U.S. base in Research Triangle Park. Kinetic was acquired by Andor in 2004, leading to the creation of the microscopy systems group led by Dr. Browne, who was appointed Director, Systems Division in 2007. He continues to be engaged in product management and development and retains a keen interest in biophysics, optics, imaging technology, and applications in the life sciences.


Jackie Oberst, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Oberst did her undergraduate training at the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Ph.D. in Tumor Biology at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. She combined her interests in science and writing by pursuing an M.A. in Journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Oberst joined Science/AAAS in 2016 as the Assistant Editor for Custom Publishing. Before then she worked at Nature magazine, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Endocrine Society, and the National Institutes of Mental Health.

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