Roth Lab Discovers New Tool to Study and Control Brain Circuits

Using a new ‘chemogenetic’ technique invented by Bryan Roth’s lab at UNC, scientists turn neurons ‘on’ and ‘off’ to demonstrate how brain circuits control behavior in mice. This unique tool – the first to result from the NIH BRAIN Initiative – will help scientists understand how to modulate neurons to more effectively treat diseases.

Roth Lab Discovers New Tool to Study and Control  Brain Circuits click to enlarge Bryan L Roth, MD, PhD
Roth lab has perfected a noninvasive "chemogenetic" technique that allows researchers to turn off a specific behavior in mice and then switch it back on.  The method they named KORD (k-opioid receptor DREADD) was funded by the NIH BRAIN Initiative  It works by targeting two different cell surface receptors of neurons that are responsible for triggering the specific chemical signals that control brain functions and complex behaviors.  The KORD technology will play a role in showing how brain circuits can be more effectively targeted to treat human disease.

For more information, visit the UNC School of Medicine Newsroom.