Prof. Hong-Gyu Park paves way for animal-safe visual system research
Device operable in retina of conscious mice; Results published in Science
▲ Prof. Hong-Gyu Park, Department of Physics, College of Science
A local research team has opened new possibilities for visual system research that does not involve harming laboratory animals.
The team, comprised of Hong-Gyu Park, a professor of the Department of Physics under the College of Science at Korea University; Jung Min Lee, a researcher in the same department; and Guosong Hong, a researcher of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, succeeded in developing a device that operates in the retinas of conscious mice. The success of this study has paved the way for research on real-time activities in neural circuits without harming laboratory animals.
The results were published on June 28 in the world-leading science journal, Science.
While past studies mostly involved animal dissections, the team regularly injected mesh electronics using a needle with a diameter less than 0.1mm onto the retina surface, and formed a thin, conformal implant. The device, measuring 0.8mm by 1.5mm, had 16 electrodes. Even when coated on the retina, the device did not interfere with eye movement or other normal eye functions due to its lattice structure. It showed outstanding performance in detecting visual images on the retina.
The team succeeded in measuring the activity of retinal ganglion cells (RGC), which play a role in delivering visual information to the brain. The device continued to operate stably after two weeks.
The team expects the device to expand options for animal experiments related to the retina and optic nerves.