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IBEC Seminar: Cochlear optical stimulation of the auditory pathway


Optical stimulation of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) in the ear for coding sound information provides an interesting alternative to electrical stimulation that is used in current cochlear implants for hearing restoration. As light can be conveniently confined in space, optical stimulation promises not only to increase the number of independent stimulation channels, but also potentially to restore temporal response of SGNs which are phase-locked to the periodicity of the sound. Sensitizing SGNs to light can be achieved either by optogenetic manipulation for expressing a light-sensitive protein, or by photopharmacological manipulation of receptors native to the cochlea. Pioneering studies have established proof of principle of optical cochlear stimulation to restore hearing in rodent models of deafness (Hernandez et al, 2014; Wrobel, Dieter et al, 2018). More recent work from the last 2 years have demonstrated i) improvement of frequency selectivity in response to light-over electrical stimuli (Dieter et al, 2019), and ii) activation of the auditory pathway by faster opsins (i.e. shorter closing kinetics) which are more suitable for fast spiking SGNs (Mager, Lopez de la Morena et al, 2018, Keppeler et al, 2018). Finally, ongoing work, in collaboration with the team of Pau Gorostiza, is showing than a photopharmacological approach targeting AMPA receptors could be used to optically activate the auditory pathway with performance similar to current optogenetic tools.

Data i hora d'inici: 16/01/2020, 12.00h

Data i hora de fi: 16/01/2020, 13.30h

Organitzador: IBEC - Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya

Lloc: Edifici Torres R+D+I, TI 11