Mission

The CSM Optogenetics Platform’s goal is to offer an array of equipment and facilities for the combined use of optogenetic stimulation, fiber photometry, and head-mounted miniscopes with behavioural testing in mice and rats. The facility staff offers training and expertise in rodent behavioural testing, optogenetics, stereotaxic surgery, data analysis, and technology development. CSM Optogenetics also aims to support educational development through comprehensive training, support, and teaching for our users. The platform’s technology is fully operational, and our most significant impact to date has been supporting CSM and HBI research excellence including several Nature Neuroscience publications over the past 2 years.

Education

The optogenetics team has made meaningful progress towards its goal of serving as an educational resource for the CSM community. Most significant accomplishments include:

  • Contributing to curriculum development and teaching of MDSC 755: “Modern Methods in Neuroscience”

  • Development of our first REALISE module: “Modern Approaches to Optogenetics and Behavioural Neuroscience,” which includes an introduction on how to effectively incorporate optogenetics and behavioural analysis into research 

  • Development of our second and co-offered REALISE module: “An Introduction to MATLAB for Optogenetics and Behavioural Neuroscience”

  • Teaching for Neuro-II (Systems Neuroscience) graduate-level course

  • Hosting a TECH Day and mini-symposium for researchers and staff from across campus to: 1) help reduce redundancy and solve common technical problems, 2) promote collaborative discussions, and 3) determine how the CSM Optogenetics Platform can help researchers achieve their innovative goals

  • Organizing, hosting, or participating in seminars: 

    • Introduction to Imetronic: innovative instruments for the analysis of animal behaviours

    • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Methods Day

    • Accepted Abstract Submission: CSM Optogenetics Core. Development of a Web-based Browser Interface for Image Annotation. (2019) BMB Methods Day. Calgary, Alberta

    • Alberta Innovates Heritage Youth Researcher Summer (HYRS) Program

  • The platform continues to: 

    • Provide hands-on training to researchers interested in using optogenetics, the newly installed fibre photometry imaging system, and miniscopes 

    • Participate in the organization of a Journal Club focusing on the utilization of novel methods in neuroscience

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