full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Ed Boyden: A light switch for neurons

Unscramble the Blue Letters

So when I started in neuroscience 11 years ago, I had trained as an electrical eengnier and a physicist, and the first thing I thought about was, if these neurons are electrical dveceis, all we need to do is to find some way of driving those eccretilal changes at a distance. If we could turn on the electricity in one cell, but not its ngobiehrs, that would give us the tool we need to activate and shut down these different clels, figure out what they do and how they contribute to the networks in which they're embedded. And also it would allow us to have the ultra-precise control we need in order to fix the circuit computations that have gone awry. Now how are we going to do that? Well there are many molecules that esxit in nature, which are able to convert light into electricity. You can think of them as little proteins that are like solar cells. If we can install these molecules in neurons somehow, then these neurons would become electrically drlvabie with light. And their neighbors, which don't have the mlleocue, would not. There's one other magic trcik you need to make this all happen, and that's the abitily to get light into the brain. And to do that — the brain doesn't feel pain — you can put — taking advantage of all the effort that's gone into the Internet and camtmoiicnnuos and so on — optical fibers connected to lasers that you can use to activate, in animal models for example, in pre-clinical studies, these neurons and to see what they do.

Open Cloze

So when I started in neuroscience 11 years ago, I had trained as an electrical ________ and a physicist, and the first thing I thought about was, if these neurons are electrical _______, all we need to do is to find some way of driving those __________ changes at a distance. If we could turn on the electricity in one cell, but not its _________, that would give us the tool we need to activate and shut down these different _____, figure out what they do and how they contribute to the networks in which they're embedded. And also it would allow us to have the ultra-precise control we need in order to fix the circuit computations that have gone awry. Now how are we going to do that? Well there are many molecules that _____ in nature, which are able to convert light into electricity. You can think of them as little proteins that are like solar cells. If we can install these molecules in neurons somehow, then these neurons would become electrically ________ with light. And their neighbors, which don't have the ________, would not. There's one other magic _____ you need to make this all happen, and that's the _______ to get light into the brain. And to do that — the brain doesn't feel pain — you can put — taking advantage of all the effort that's gone into the Internet and ______________ and so on — optical fibers connected to lasers that you can use to activate, in animal models for example, in pre-clinical studies, these neurons and to see what they do.

Solution

  1. ability
  2. electrical
  3. molecule
  4. communications
  5. exist
  6. trick
  7. devices
  8. cells
  9. drivable
  10. engineer
  11. neighbors

Original Text

So when I started in neuroscience 11 years ago, I had trained as an electrical engineer and a physicist, and the first thing I thought about was, if these neurons are electrical devices, all we need to do is to find some way of driving those electrical changes at a distance. If we could turn on the electricity in one cell, but not its neighbors, that would give us the tool we need to activate and shut down these different cells, figure out what they do and how they contribute to the networks in which they're embedded. And also it would allow us to have the ultra-precise control we need in order to fix the circuit computations that have gone awry. Now how are we going to do that? Well there are many molecules that exist in nature, which are able to convert light into electricity. You can think of them as little proteins that are like solar cells. If we can install these molecules in neurons somehow, then these neurons would become electrically drivable with light. And their neighbors, which don't have the molecule, would not. There's one other magic trick you need to make this all happen, and that's the ability to get light into the brain. And to do that — the brain doesn't feel pain — you can put — taking advantage of all the effort that's gone into the Internet and communications and so on — optical fibers connected to lasers that you can use to activate, in animal models for example, in pre-clinical studies, these neurons and to see what they do.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
blue light 5
basket cell 2
significant fraction 2
find ways 2
bad news 2
brain disorder 2
treating brain 2
electrical stimulators 2
convert light 2
solar cells 2
solar cell 2
gene therapy 2
entire brain 2
drive learning 2
photoreceptor cells 2

Important Words

  1. ability
  2. activate
  3. advantage
  4. animal
  5. awry
  6. brain
  7. cell
  8. cells
  9. circuit
  10. communications
  11. computations
  12. connected
  13. contribute
  14. control
  15. convert
  16. devices
  17. distance
  18. drivable
  19. driving
  20. effort
  21. electrical
  22. electrically
  23. electricity
  24. embedded
  25. engineer
  26. exist
  27. feel
  28. fibers
  29. figure
  30. find
  31. fix
  32. give
  33. happen
  34. install
  35. internet
  36. lasers
  37. light
  38. magic
  39. models
  40. molecule
  41. molecules
  42. nature
  43. neighbors
  44. networks
  45. neurons
  46. neuroscience
  47. optical
  48. order
  49. pain
  50. physicist
  51. proteins
  52. put
  53. shut
  54. solar
  55. started
  56. studies
  57. thought
  58. tool
  59. trained
  60. trick
  61. turn
  62. years