Optogenetic Stimulation for Parkinson's Research: Recovering Movement in an Animal Model

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In this webinar, Louise Parr-Brownlie, Ph.D., and Conor Underwood, Ph.D., provide an overview of their research involving chronic stimulation of the motor thalamus in Parkinsonian rats, using the Kaha Sciences Optogenetics Biopotential Telemeter.

Key Learning Objectives:   

  • Understanding how a chronically implanted optogenetic stimulation device functions and how it was developed
  • Reviewing the surgical procedure to chronically implant the Kaha Sciences Optogenetics Biopotential Telemeter from ADInstruments
  • Discussing the tips and tricks for post-operative care and management for this procedure


Electrical deep brain stimulation is an effective treatment for people living with Parkinson’s disease. However, some patients experience stimulation-induced side effects, such as cognitive decline and worsening of gait. Non-selective electrical stimulation of neurons and anatomical pathways underlies some of these side effects.

Louise Parr-Brownlie, Ph.D., and Conor Underwood, Ph.D. hypothesized that optogenetic stimulation might be a highly-selective alternative to deep brain stimulation, which might avoid some of the harmful side effects of electrical stimulation. They have found that acute optogenetic stimulation of the motor thalamus can recover movements in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease. As a critical step to translating optogenetic stimulation to humans, their study optimized the design of an implantable device to deliver chronic (2 months) motor thalamus stimulation in Parkinsonian rats to ultimately improve movements, including activities of daily living. Surgical implantation of these devices is technically demanding, and the limited fiber flexibility makes this more challenging. In this webinar, Louise and Conor will outline the surgical procedure, and post-operative management requirements, and will discuss this study and the future directions for their work.

Related products:

Optogenetics Biopotential Telemeter»
Configurator System»

Additional resources:

Shining a light for World Parkinson’s Day»
Introduction to Optogenetics for Neuroscience Research»
Beyond the Bowel: Shining a Light on the Inner Workings of Our ‘Second Brain’»
Translational Science Panel: Research Insights and Best Practice for Clinical Relevance (webinar)»
Optogenetic Activation of Selective Cardiac Autonomic Neurons (webinar)»

About the speakers:

Louise Parr-Brownlie Parkinsons Optogenetics webinar ADI

Louise Parr-Brownlie, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy
University of Otago
Louise Parr-Brownlie completed her Ph.D. in neurophysiology before holding research positions at the NIH. Louise has characterized changes in neuronal activity in motor pathways in models of Parkinson’s disease, examined if motor thalamus stimulation can recover movements, and worked with bioengineers to develop implantable light stimulation devices.

Conor Underwood Parkinsons Optogenetics webinar ADI

Conor Underwood, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Anatomy
University of Otago
Conor Underwood is a passionate early-career scientist with a keen interest in novel technologies for neuroscience research. His research aims to characterize and treat thalamocortical dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease (post-doc) and hypothalamic dysfunction in kidney disease (Ph.D.).


TR58AB Optogenetics Biopotential Telemeter

Optogenetics Biopotential Telemeter

The Kaha Sciences Optogenetics Biopotential telemeter from ADInstruments is the first fully implantable, wireless optogenetic solution to offer both optogenetic stimulation and recording (EEG, ECG, and EMG) within the same device.

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