Infrared Neuromodulation Reveals a New Understanding of Ganglion Organization

This study aims to create new tools that will control autonomic Ganglia and visualize activity within them, leading to a deeper understanding of how they function and radically new treatments for Autonomic Diseases.

About This Study

The autonomic nervous system controls heart rate, respiration, digestion, and many other visceral functions. Recent studies have shown that Infrared laser light can uniquely affect the collections of nerve cells (Ganglia) that control autonomic function.

The tools and knowledge gained in this study will not only help determine the potential of Infrared Neuromodulation (IRN), but be beneficial to a host of future neuromodulation and other applications.

Study Information

This study aims to advance IRN and imaging technology in the following ways.

  • Create new devices to efficiently and precisely deliver IR light to nerves and ganglia in pre-clinical studies.
  • New devices include flexible polymer waveguides that can deliver light to multiple locations while conforming and moving freely with the target tissue, a ganglia tracking system that can identify the orientation of the nodose ganglion and precisely control IR illumination patterns on the ganglia for mapping function, and advanced calcium imaging systems that can do volumetric imaging of ganglionic activity and imaging in pre-clinical studies.
  • Assess the safety selectivity, and repeatability of IRN.
  • Develop a deep understanding of how IRN works by conducting mechanistic studies that include creating sophisticated models of IRN’s effect on Electrophysiology and experiments to test hypotheses.
  • Because IRN has unmasked a spatial organization to ganglionic function, we will be able to map this organization in detail and provide an unprecedented understanding of ganglionic function.


Shedding Light on the Nervous System

Principal Investigator:  Michael Jenkins, PhD

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