The use of light as a tool to manipulate cellular processes or optogenetics has developed rapidly in various biological fields over the past decade. Through the addition of photosensitive proteins, light can be used to control intracellular mechanisms, map neuronal pathways, and alter variables that would be difficult to control using other mechanisms. Photons of a specific wavelength affect these light sensitive targets for in vitro or in vivo experiments. Optogenetics is beneficial because it gives the investigator spatial and temporal control over experimental variables. Precise control is achieved by sequential activation of different ion channels and the ability to non-invasively control membrane potential. In this review, we will discuss the recent use of optogenetics in biological fields to understand the role of different cell types in hearing and creating a new cochlear implant, as well as future uses such as light controlled drug delivery and gene expression.
DiGuiseppi, J., & Zuo, J. (2019, May 14). The awesome power of optogenetics in hearing research. Neuroscience Letters. Elsevier Ireland Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2019.02.037