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Special Seminar by Prof. Won Do Heo (KAIST)
Date: Nov 28, 2019

Molecular optogenetics: tool development and applications to cell biology and neuroscience research

Won Do Heo,  Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST), 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 34141, Korea


My group has been developing various bio-imaging and optogenetic tools for the study of cell signaling in live cells as well as neuronal functions in vivo. Novel optogenetic toolkit developed by my group is highly advantageous compared with conventional approaches in that it allows finely manipulated signaling pathways in a spatial and temporal resolution, thereby making it possible to dissect and analyze the transient dynamics of signaling processes within a defined period. These tools are very useful not only for imaging based researches in cell biology, but also for the studies in neuroscience. Recently developed optogenetic strategies have brought significant changes the way in which signaling in living cells is studied in neurobiology and other disciplines. Novel optogenetic toolkit my group has been developing are capable of providing what channelrhodopsins could not offer previously, contributing in a disparate perspective of neuroscience. We are applying the new technologies to the study of spatiotemporal roles of signaling proteins and second messengers in learning and memory in normal and disease mouse models.



  1. Yu D, Lee H, Hong J, Jung H, Jo Y, Oh BH, Park BO#, Heo WD#. Optogenetic activation of intracellular antibodies for direct modulation of endogenous proteins.Nature Methods. 2019 Oct 14.
  2. Nguyen MK, Kim CY, Kim JM, Park BO, Lee S, Park H, Heo WD. Optogenetic oligomerization of Rab GTPases regulates intracellular membrane trafficking. Nature Chemical Biology. 2016 Apr 11. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2064. [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Kyung T*, Lee S*, Kim JE, Cho T, Park H, Jeong YM, Kim D, Shin A, Kim S, Baek J, Kim J, Kim NY, Woo D, Chae S, Kim CH, Shin HS, Han YM#, Kim D#, Heo WD#. Optogenetic control of endogenous Ca(2+) channels in vivo. Nature Biotechnology (Cover Article). 2015 Sep 14. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3350.


  1. Lee S*, Park H*, Kyung T, Kim NY, Kim S, Kim J, Heo WD. Reversible protein inactivation by optogenetic trapping in cells.Nature Methods. 2014 Jun;11(6):633-6.


  1. Chang KY*, Woo D*, Jung H, Lee S, Kim S, Won J, Kyung T, Park H, Kim N, Yang HW, Park JY, Hwang EM, Kim D, Heo WD. Light-inducible receptor tyrosine kinases that regulate neurotrophin signalling.Nature Communications. 2014 Jun 4;5:4057. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5057. 

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