Optogenetics and Neuromodulation Research Core

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Equipment and Services

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Equipment and Services



  • Dual-arm stereotaxes (Koph Instruments) and surgical tools for fiber implantation
  • Multiple light sources including lasers (473 nm, 630 nm), LEDs (465, 525, 550, 620, and 630 nm), and LED arrays (465 nm, for cell culture)
  • Light meters (ThorLabs)
  • Pattern generators including Radiant (Plexon), PulsePal (Open Ephys), and Arduino
  • Intensity Drivers (ThorLabs)
  • Patch cables including a variety of connections (SMA-FC, FC-FC, FC-LC, LC-LC) and numerical apertures (0.22, 0.39, 0.50, 0.66 NA)
  • Various bare optical fibers, ceramic ferrules, and fiber cutting/polishing/inspection/assembly tools
  • Optical and electrical commutators
  • Wireless optogenetic options (Plexon, Neurolux)
  • Form2 resin-based 3D printer (Form Labs)
  • 8 adaptable behavior testing units with ANY-maze video tracking software (Stoelting Co.)


  • Access to a wide variety of optogenetic equipment and supplies
  • Optogenetic equipment set-up and integration with other technical approaches
  • Assist with development/fabrication of custom-made equipment and light delivery devices
  • Grant development and experiment planning
  • Technical protocol assistance and development
  • Assistance with technical troubleshooting
  • Pilot testing for grant submissions: includes assistance with fiber-making, stereotaxic surgery, and behavioral testing
  • Regulatory Assistance (SPA/MTA, IACUC, IBC, etc.)
  • 3D printing


  • Optic fiber fabrication
  • DIY equipment fabrication and set-up
  • Stereotaxic surgery: viral infusion, optical fiber implantation
  • Other surgeryjugular vein catheterization, intracranial/peripheral cannula/device implantation
  • Histology: Perfusions, Microtomb Brain Slicing, Slice Mounting, Slide Visualization with Epifluorescent Microscope
  • BehaviorOptogenetic approaches for behavioral testing including self-stimulation, real time and conditioned place preference assays, open field, novel object recognition, Y/T-maze, elevated plus maze, social interaction, and gait analysis. 

Additional training can be provided through the University of Minnesota Behavioral Core: https://neurosci.umn.edu/research/mouse-behavior-core


MnDRIVE Optogenetics Core Supported Manuscripts

  • Lind EB, Sweis BM, Asp AA, Esguerra M, Silvis KA, Redish AD, Thomas MJ (2023) A quadruple dissociation of reward-related behaviour in mice across excitatory inputs to the nucleus accumbens shell. Commun Biol 6(1): 119. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9886947/
  • Brander DD, Retzlaff CL, Kocharian A, Stieve BJ, Mashal MA, Mermelstein PG, Rothwell PE (2022) Neuroligin-3 in dopaminergic circuits promotes behavioural and neurobiological adaptations to chronic morphine exposure. Addict Biol 28(1): e13247 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/adb.13247
  • Lefevre EM, Pisansky MT, Toddes C, Baruffaldi F, Pravetoni M, Tian L, Kono TJY, Rothwell PE (2020) Interruption of continuous opioid exposure exacerbates drug-evoked adaptations in the mesolimbic dopamine system. Neuropsychopharmacology 45(11): 1781-1792. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7608117/
  • Lines J, Martin ED, Kofuji P, Aguilar J, Araque A (2020) Astrocyte modulate sensory-evoked neuronal network activity. Nat Commun 11: 3689. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7378834/
  • Corkrum M, Covelo A, Lines J, Bellocchio L, Pisansky M, Loke K, Quintana R, Rothwell PE, Lujan R, Marsicano G, Martin ED, Thomas MJ, Kofuji P, Araque AA (2020) Dopamine-evoked synaptic regulation in the nucleus accumbens requires astrocyte activity. Neuron 105(6): 1036-1047. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7322729/
  • Durkee CA, Covelo A, Lines J, Kofuji P, Aguilar J, Araque A (2019) Gi/o protein-coupled receptors inhibit neurons but activate astrocytes and stimulate gliotransmission. Glia 67(6): 1076 - 1093. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6462242/
  • Lyons C, Razzoli M, Larson E, Svedberg D, Frontini A, Vulchanova L, Sanders M, Thomas M, Bartolomucci A (2019) Optogenetic-induced sympathetic neuromodulation of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis. FASEB J 34(2):2765-2773. *Epub ahead of print of this manuscript in early December 2019 led to its ranking as one of the top 10% most downloaded manuscripts for this journal between January 2018 – December 2019 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7306786/
  • Pisansky MT, Lefevre EM, Retzlaff CL, Trieu BH, Leipold DW, Rothwell PE (2019) Nucleus accumbens fast-spiking interneurons constrain impulsive action. Biol Psychiatry 86(11): 836-847. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823148/
  • Benneyworth MA*, Hearing MC*, Asp AJ, Ingebretson AE, Schmidt CE, Silvis KA, Larson EB, Ebner SR, Thomas MJ (2019) Synaptic depotentiation and mGluR5 activity in the nucleus accumbens drive cocaine-primed reinstatement of place preference. J Neurosci 39(24): 4785-4796. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6561685/
  • Sweis BM, Larson EB, Redish AD, Thomas MJ (2018) Altering the gain of infralimbic to accumbens shell circuit alters economically dissociable decision-making algorithms. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115(27): E6347-E6355. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142249/
  • Martin-Fernandez M, Robin JS, Zhao LM, Martin ED, Aguilar J, Benneyworth MA, Marsicano G, Araque A (2017) Synapse-specific astrocyte gating of amygdala-related behavior. Nat Neurosci 20(11): 1540-1548. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5903286/
  • Uhelski ML, Bruce DJ, Seguela P, Wilcox FL (2017) In vivo optogenetic activation of Nav1.8 cutaneous nociceptors and their responses to natural stimuli. J Neurophysiol 117(6): 2218-2223. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5454474/
  • Hearing MC, Jedynak J, Ebner SR, Ingebretson A, Asp AJ, Fischer RA, Schmidt C, Larson EB, Thomas MJ (2016) Reversal of morphine-induced cell-type specific synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens shell blocks reinstatement. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1133:757-62. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4725472/


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