Department of Physiology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Title of the talk:
Light in Sight – optogenetic gene therapy to recover vision.
The aim of Dr. Kleinlogel’s laboratory is the implementation of optogenetics into regenerative medicine. Her group tailors optogenetic tools biotechnologically for specific therapeutic approaches. They presently focus on the development of optogenetic treatments for skin cancer and blindness. For this they biotechnologically engineer custom-made “next-generation” optogenetic tools, which are membrane proteins equipped with a rhodopsin-based light antenna. In order to introduce the proteins into the cells of interest they use lenti- and recombinant Adeno-associated viral shuttle vectors, the latter of which are admitted to the clinic for gene-therapy. Through viral capsid modifications they aim to improve cell specific targeting and infectivity. The tools are tested in cell cultures, ex vivo preparations and finally in the living animal.