Past Events


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Optics Within Life Sciences, 2012

When: July 4 - 6, 2012.
Where Genoa, Italy.
Programme: download the programme here.

Single Cell Physiology EMBO-FPGG-ICAM workshop

When: July 23 - 28, 2012.
Where Ecole Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d'Ulm, Paris, France.
Programme: download the programme here.

This EMBO-FPGG-ICAM workshop will be held at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris between the 23th and 28th of July 2012. It will gather about one hundred and twenty physicists, chemists and biologists interested in the perturbation and study of physiological problems (development, cancer, neurophysiology, etc.) at the level of a single cell. Twenty-four invited speakers, leaders in their field, will participate.

The purpose of this conference is to gather experts from various fields (physiology, chemistry, physics, molecular biology) to address issues in the study of physiology at the single cell level and sketch the possible solutions to the challenges raised by these types of investigations.

The workshop will be preceded by a 3 days school on Optical Methods in Physiology opened to students and young researchers who would like to get a preview and update of the themes to be discussed during the conference with 4 courses (3-4 hours each) on: Optogenetics, Optical methods in biology, Photo-actuation: substrates and methods. The school will take place between the 20th and 22th of July 2012 at the ENS.

Photocontrol and optogenetics of biological systems and functions

When: September 10 - 12 and 17 - 20, 2012.
Where Phase I: Bordeaux, France. Phase II: Paris, France.
Link: download poster here.
Programme: download preliminary programme here (in French).

Phase I: Critical assessment (Sept. 10-12, 2012 Bordeaux)


Living systems are made of cells which respond to external signals by modifying their internal state and subsequently their external environment. While the major actors in these processes are often known, much less is known of the kinetic rules that govern their interaction with one another and with other cellular players (such as the type of complexes, rate constants, strength of feedback or feed-forward loops, etc.).To investigate these dynamical interactions, tools have recently been developed to control or interfere in a non-invasive manner with extra and intercellular processes using light. These tools consist of light-sensitive channels, pumps and proteins which function can be controlled locally by light for the so called optogenetics tools and of caged molecules (ligands, mRNA, morpholinos, neurotransmitters, etc.) which can be activated locally and quickly (~sec up to the microsecond) by appropriate illumination. Combining these approaches with fast readouts of the cells’ response to local perturbations will allow for an investigation of dynamical physiological processes with unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution.

This workshop is intended to fill two primary objectives: on one hand we would like to assess photocontrol methods (probes, optical thechniques, and biological problems) by presenting the international state of the art of these methods. On the other hand, we would like to provide a set of practical elements such that audience can get a notion of the feasibility, the cost, and the technical demands of a photocontrol project. Doing so, a participant will be able to move towards a given type of actuator in order to control the biological functions of his interest, and will know which competences and devices are needed. In parallel, this workshop will open new perspectives in the study of biological systems though the manipulation with light of diverse functions.


This workshop is intended to the general scientific and medical communities. The primary audience aimed will be composed of cellular and molecular biologists, neurobiologists, developmental biologists, physicians and research engineers who wish to set up an experimental device of photocontrol. However, a more instructed audience together with chemists, opticians, and biophysicists will not be neglected. Lectures will be given in English.

Phase II: Technical workshop (Sept. 17-20, 2012, Paris)


From the molecule to the photoactivation in vivo (ENS Chemistry department), holographic activation of neurons (spatial and temporal control of neuronal activity by wavefront shaping) (Paris Descartes University), photoactivation and TIRF imaging of intracellular signaling (ENS biology department).


9 trainees will be selected among phase I participants.

Optogenetics and Pharmacogenetics in Neuronal Function and Dysfunction - 7th Brain Research Conference

When: October 11 - 12, 2012.
Where New Orleans, USA.
Organizers: Gary Aston-Jones and Karl Deisseroth.

The ability to express light-sensitive membrane channels (optogenetics) and synthetic receptors (pharmacogenetics) in neurons is revolutionizing neuroscience. With these new approaches, investigators can control neuronal activity or signaling with unprecedented specificity and precision. These methods are within the reach of most investigators, and are replacing less selective techniques of electrical stimulation, lesions or pharmacologic manipulations. These approaches are not only a boon to basic researchers, but also have substantial potential for development of novel clinical treatments for a range of nervous system disorders. The 2-day meeting will feature the originators (Deisseroth, Roth and Conklin) as well as early adopters of these methods, validating their utility in understanding neural function and potential for treating neural dysfunction.

Conference on Optogenetics and Hybrid-Optical Control of Cells

When: February 2 - 7, 2013.
Where San Francisco, USA.
This conference has an open call for papers: Link for abstract submission (The abstract submission deadline has been extended) here.

Changing Minds: Optogenetic Manipulation of the Brain

Full title: Marshall M. Weinberg Symposium: Changing Minds: Optogenetic Manipulation of the Brain.
When: 05/9/2011 to 05/10/2011; 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Where Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

8th European Biophysics Congress

When: August 23 - 27, 2011.
Where Budapest, Hungary.
Programme: Scientific Programme.

III International Symposium: Topical Problems of Biophotonics

When: July 16 - 22, 2011.
Where St. Petersburg - Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

FENS-IBRO SfN School. Causal Neuroscience: Interacting with neural circuits

When: June 19 - 24, 2011.
Where Bertinoro, Italy.
Deadline for applications: January 28, 2011.

Causal Neuroscience: Interacting with neural circuits is an advanced school of neuroscience aimed at discussing the state of the art in genetic, molecular, physiological, optical and behavioural approaches which now enable investigators to monitor and manipulate activity across genetically-defined ensembles of neurons during behaviour. These new approaches are becoming sufficiently powerful to allow decisive tests of theoretical models, and are poised to provide new insight into the dynamics of neural circuits and our understanding of the neural code. The school will bring together 30 young neuroscientists at the graduate and post-doctoral level with the leaders in this emerging field.

ARVO 2011 Minisymposium: Optogenetics, Visual Function and Restoration

When: Monday, May 2–Thursday, May 5 2011.
Where Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.

Optogenetic studies to understand cellular and neuronal circuitry have increased dramatically over the past several years. Optogenetic methods are based on using genetic and molecular approaches to selectively target the light-sensitive proteins, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) or halorhodopsin (NpHR), in specific cell populations in vivo. ChR2 and NpHR activation by light is therefore selective and only limited to those cells expressing the proteins. This selectivity along with their fast temporal kinetics of light activation have opened new ways to probe the cellular and circuitry organization of the nervous system, and its relation to behavior, with great precision. Optogenetic technologies are emerging at a rapid pace with improved cellular targeting, and light sensitive compounds, including light sensitivity and wavelength selectivity. An excellent line-up of speakers will offer an overview of the field with the newest experimental methodologies, examples of the power of optogenetics to reveal circuitry function and behavior, and potential approaches in using optogenetics to restore vision.

Casting Light on Life: The 16th Takeda Science Foundation Symposium on Bioscience

When: December 1-2, 2010.
Where: RIKEN Brain Science Institute / JST, Japan.
Deadline for applications: November 19, 2010.

Technological innovations bring about new discoveries and are bred by other discoveries. The history of science is marked by a chain of advances in technology and knowledge that have always complemented each other. In particular, technological innovations in fluorescence imaging and molecular imaging of biological functions have developed through multidisciplinary research, implicating neuroscience, physiology, optics, cell biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

This symposium entitled "Casting Light on Life" was designed to integrate recent advances in these rapidly expanding technologies that image the molecules of life. By bringing together researchers whose interests range from molecules to whole bodies, we hope to provide a comprehensive coverage in order to stimulate the interest of all participants, casting light on a variety of biological functions.

SFN Short Course #1

Fullname: Society for Neuroscience Short Course #1: Genes, Photons & Electrons: New Solutions for Problems in Systems Neuroscience.
When: November 12, 2010.
Where: Society for Neuroscience 40th Annual Meeting, San Diego, USA.
Deadline for applications: Closed.

The last decade has seen a dramatic resurgence of interest in systems neuroscience, together with a new optimism that many of its longstanding problems can soon be solved. This has been driven in part by the growing realization that an understanding at the level of the neural circuit is essential if we are to link the cellular and molecular properties of neurons and synaptic connections to behaviour; and by the development of a range of new technologies for manipulating neural circuits with unprecedented temporal and spatial precision.

This Short Course will bring together tool developers at the forefront of these advances and those who are applying these new tools to address longstanding challenges in systems neuroscience. The invited lecturers span the range of approaches and levels involved in the modern study of neural circuits, from new genetically encoded probes for circuit tracing and activity monitoring, to new imaging and electrophysiological approaches for dissecting activity patterns in defined neural populations during behaviour, through to new methods for manipulating activity in intact circuits to make causal links between circuit elements and behaviour. The emphasis will be on defining the key open questions in systems neuroscience and how the new tools can be used to solve them, and on comparing the practical advantages and limitations of various methods, with a view towards future developments.

This day-long course consists of a series of lectures by the faculty, followed by informal breakout sessions.

Genetic Manipulation of Neuronal Activity II

When: November 7-10, 2010.
Where: Janelia Farm Research Campus.
Deadline for applications: Registration for this conference closed May 14 2010.

This conference is a follow-up to the one held in 2008. At the first meeting, we highlighted the recent development of new genetic reagents for the exogenous control of neural circuit activity, including naturally evolved light-gated ion channels and pumps, mutagenized temperature-sensitive synaptic transmission components, rationally designed photo-switches, and "orthogonal" drug/receptor pairs, among others. In this meeting, we will bring together leaders in the field to review progress in the design and use of current tools, and, even more importantly, to focus on the development of novel tools and their potential applications.

Single-cell Electroporation Workshop

When: November 1-2, 2010.
Where: University College London.
Deadline for applications: Registration for this conference closed September 30, 2010.

Single-cell electroporation is a powerful approach for dye loading and genetic transfection of single, identified neurons in the intact mammalian brain. Harnessing the ability of 2-photon microscopy to visualize neurons in vivo, it can be used for morphological labelling; to introduce calcium dyes; to express optogenetic probes and genetically encoded sensors of activity; and to investigate the functional role of particular genes without causing widespread disruption of the neural circuit.

The aim of the workshop is to teach students to perform visually guided single-cell electroporation of neurons in different brain areas. The workshop will provide introductory lectures covering practical tips and current applications, followed by sessions in the lab where students will learn single-cell electroporation under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Places on the course are strictly limited to ensure a favorable student-faculty ratio. Students are expected to already have experience with 2-photon imaging and/or in vivo techniques, and will be selected based on their CV and letter of motivation. There is no registration fee, and accommodation and meals will be provided.