Tuesday, June 14, 2005
NATO ASI Course on New developments in optics and related fields: modern techniques, materials, and applications, Centro Ettore Majorana (Erice, Italy)
Tightly-focused femtosecond laser pulses of a few nanojoules sever individual dendrites in the nematode worm C. elegans. Quantification of the resulting behavioral deficits identifies the contribution of the dissected structures. Due to nonlinear absorption of laser light, the dissection has submicrometer resolution with no collateral damage, permitting subcellular surgery on live animals. Future work include an examination of the molecular basis of neurodegeneration that has application to diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers.