Development of Ferritin-iron Redistribution to Ion Channels (FeRIC) Technology

Summer 2017

Chelsey Campillo Rodriguez : Molecular & Cell Biology- Neurobiology

Donor: Pergo Fund
Mentor: Chunlei Liu

For decades, researchers have been experimenting with tools used for neural stimulation, modulation, and therapy. A greatly used and helpful tool includes optogenetics, which utilizes light waves to control cells expressing light-sensitive channels. While optogenetics is not an invasive recording technology, due to its dependence on visible light it cannot penetrate deep into the organism’s tissue. The purpose of this project is to develop a wireless method similar to optogenetics which can overcome the issues optogenetics encounters. Rather than using light to manipulate neuronal behavior, an electromagnetic field will be provided as the stimulus source. The electromagnetic field will target specific cells that express heat-sensitive proteins, specifically the transient receptor potential channel TRPV1. This method of neural stimulation is ideal as it will reach cells deep within the tissue, and it will not expose the subject to exogenous particles.

To the Pergo Fund, I cannot express my gratitude enough for your support and willingness to help make the opportunity to do full time research at UC Berkeley a reality. To be able to spend a whole summer working closely with the prestigious faculty and bright student body which make up Berkeley, has made the summer of 2017 a time to never forget. After this opportunity, I feel fueled with passion and ambition to further develop the FeRIC project I worked on this summer. Working on FeRIC has strengthened my interest in pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience, especially because I know that I can use neuromodulation tools, such as FeRIC, in order to study the unknown functions of deep parts of the brain. Thank you for believing in me as a researcher and future contributor to the neuroscience field. I know that every student who you have helped has an immense amount of appreciation for your support. THANK YOU!