Karl Deisseroth gives a tour of the basic science and clinical opportunities of optogenetics, a technology that grew out of the discovery of light-activated microbial molecules and their eventual deployment in live, free-moving animals. Optogenetics is used to decipher the role of specific classes of—and even individual—neurons within labyrinthine brain circuits. Deisseroth received the 2021 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award along with Dieter Oesterhelt and Peter Hegemann.

You can view the recorded lecture below. The 2021 Lasker Public Lecture was originally presented live on October 20 and was co-hosted with the Secret Science Club, a non-profit dedicated to fostering connections between research scientists and the public.

This special lecture was supported by an anonymous donation made in honor of Lasker Foundation board member Alfred (Al) Sommer, recipient of the 1997 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award and Dean Emeritus at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Lasker Public Lectures promote dialogue between curious, engaged individuals and some of the most accomplished scientists in the world.