Contributed Symposium

Optogenetics: shedding an artificial light on natural mechanisms

[Speaker] Bouchekioua, Youcef:1
1:Keio University (Japan)

Whether in psychology, psychiatry or neuroscience, a direct short-term application of fundamental research is to propose new treatments, and ultimately, to prevent mental disease. To that aim, scientists put their efforts into unraveling the normal and pathological mechanisms of brain and behavior functioning. The means are numerous and varied, being invasive or not, in human or non-human animal, etc. But whatever the means, researchers are making use of the experimental methodology, which is, artificial by nature. What here appears to be a limitation, can also, to some extent, be an advantage if appropriate precautions are taken. We will discuss how artificial situations in experimental research can lead to a better understanding of natural processes, normal or pathological. Optogenetics will be invoked as an illustration of how artificial treatments are applied in the understanding of natural facts, with all the limitations that such a technology implies.
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