Optogenetics, a neuromodulation method that is employed to control and monitor the activities of individual neurons in living tissue and was first developed by researchers Edward Boyden and Karl Deisseroth in 20051, is now considered as being one of the main pillars of neuroscience research.
In 2010, the journal Nature Methods choose optogenetics as the ‘Method of the Year’2 across all fields of science and engineering. In the same year the academic research journal Science highlighted it in the article ‘Breakthroughs of the Decade’3. The basis of this technique is to genetically modify neurons to express light-sensitive ion channels such as excitatory channelrhodopsin or inhibitory halorhodospin and then use light to control the on/off status of neuronal excitation. Great progress has been made with this technology since its invention and today even conscious free-moving animal models can be manipulated and observed in real-time.