Posted 19 May 2016

Prof. Christian Lüscher, Dr. Meaghan Creed

Optogenetics to inspire deep brain stimulation: a novel treatment approach for behavioural brain diseases

About author:

Prof. Christian Lüscher is a professor of Neuroscience at the University of Geneva and an attending in Neurology at the University Hospital of Geneva. 

He obtained his medical degree from the Universities of Lausanne and Berne. His M.D. thesis focused on the morphological contraints of axons that determine the safety factor of action potential propagation. After a residency in Neurology he spent three years at UC San Francisco to study synaptic plasticity in the lab of Roger Nicoll. With a career development award from the Swiss National Science Foundation he established his lab at the University of Geneva in 1999 and became full professor in 2009. 

The main interest of the Lüscher lab is on the synaptic mechanisms that underlie the behavioural adaptations in drug addiction. Over the last 15 years his lab has characterised “drug-evoked synaptic plasticity” and established links of causalities with various components in addiction models. The lab was the first to show that normalising synaptic transmission in vivo with optogenetic approaches can erase pathological behaviour. The group is currently working towards translational protocols to emulate optogenetic protocols with methods of neuromodulation approved for human use such as deep brain stimulation. 

Christian Lüscher has received several prizes, including an ERC advanced grant, the Bing and the Cloëtta Prize.