The neuroscience company Inscopix launched a new research product that can measure and modulate patterns of brain activity using light. The product, called nVoke, may help scientists better understand and possibly even correct brain disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and depression.
The product, which the company introduced at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience on Nov. 15 in San Diego, combines calcium imaging and optogenetics, two powerful techniques used in neuroscience. It allows neuroscientists to study how electrical activities in different parts of the brain affect behavior, and to understand how different groups of neurons in different regions of the brain interact with each other.
nVoke is based on the company’s previous brain-mapping product nVista and can be used during active behavior. As a result, it allows scientists to investigate brain functions that control movement, memory, emotions, social interactions, adaptive behavior, and cognitive functions.
“Simultaneously recording and stimulating defined populations of neurons in the brain during natural behavior has been an aspiration and a long-standing challenge in the field of neuroscience,” Dr. Anatol Kreitzer, the director of the neuroscience program at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), said in a press release.
“As an early-tester of nVoke, it has been exciting to experience first-hand its transformative potential for elucidating how neural circuit activity and plasticity shapes behavior, both in health and disease,” Kreitzer said.
Dr. Kunal Ghosh, the co-founder and CEO of Inscopix, said the company views itself as an integral part of “Team Science.”
“nVoke’s promise for bringing tour-de-force circuit-level investigations of brain function and behavior within reach of neuroscientists is, of course, hard to overstate,” he said. “However, the unprecedented level of collaboration between the neuroscience research community and Inscopix that led to its development is equally significant.
“nVoke is truly emblematic of the game-changing technological innovations and scientific breakthroughs that are catalyzed when all of us in the neuroscience ecosystem work together in a cooperative and purposeful way,” Ghosh added.
Epilepsy is caused by excessive and abnormal neural activity in the brain. The ability to modulate this activity would be invaluable in controlling and potentially eliminating seizures.