Dr. Ivo Lieberam Optogenetic control of muscle function 28th November, 1pm ABSTRACT My main interest is the formation and restoration of neuromuscular circuitry. In collaboration with Linda Greensmith (UCL Institute of Neurology), we are developing a novel strategy to replace degenerated central neurons with an artificial control system which combines stem-cell derived neuron implants and optogenetics. Our approach is aimed at restoring muscle function in people suffering from muscle paralysis due to a broad range of causes including spinal cord injury and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Channelrhodopsin-2 expressing motor neurons grafted into a lesioned peripheral nerve in adult mice robustly reinnervated muscles, and reconstituted muscle function in a finely-controllable manner using optical stimulation. In our initial proof-of-principle study, we were able to show that this new type of body-machine interface works in vivo, and we believe that it has enormous translational potential in neural prosthetics. Most immediately, given the rhythmic neuronal control and the fatal consequences of respiratory muscle paralysis, it could be used in an optical respiratory pacemaker.