Christian Lüscher Group

Department of Basic Neurosciences - Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva

Department of Basic Neurosciences
University of Geneva Medical School
Room D08.1551.C - 8th floor
1, rue Michel-Servet
CH - 1211 Geneva 4

Phone: +41 (0)22 379 54 23
Fax: +41 (0)22 379 54 02

Christian Lüscher
Full professor

Project at a glance

Our lab uses optogenetics to investigate the reward circuitry of the brain.

Using viral vectors, we express light-activatable ion channel in neurons such that their activity can be controlled in freely moving animals.

With this approach we have been able to see that mice will self-stimulate for light that activates the dopamine neurons of the midbrain and will avoid situation where these neurons are inhibited. We have also observed that strong stimulation of dopamine neurons is sufficient to mimic the synaptic traces typically left on these cells by addictive drugs such as cocaine. Finally we are now developing strategies to use optogenetic manipulation to reverse drug-evoked synaptic plasticity to restore normal behavior.