Scientists from Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed a new way to selectively activate brain, heart, muscle and other cells using ultrasonic waves.
The new technique, dubbed sonogenetics, has some similarities to the burgeoning use of light to activate cells in order to better understand the brain.
This new method may have advantages over the light-based approach known as optogenetics particularly when it comes to adapting the technology to human therapeutics.
"Light-based techniques are great for some uses and I think we're going to continue to see developments on that front," says Sreekanth Chalasani, an assistant professor in Salk's Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory and senior author of the study. "But this is a new, additional tool to manipulate neurons and other cells in the body."