Neuroscience Gene Vector and Virus Core
The delivery of recombinant genes into neurons is a critically important strategy for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying all brain functions, as well as for how these mechanisms go awry in brain disorders. A complementary and equally important strategy is delivery of inhibitory RNAs to eliminate or reduce specific brain proteins. Genetically engineered viruses provide powerful tools for introducing these constructs into brain cells. Indeed it is now possible, using a single virus particle, to both eliminate specific proteins and replace them with modified versions in specific subsets of cells in the brain. It is also possible, using viruses, to express proteins that will allow precise control over the electrical activity of individual nerve cells. These virally mediated molecular manipulations allow unprecedented experimental control over synapses, cells and circuits in model systems as well as in vivo in the mammalian brain.
To facilitate the use of these state-of-the-art methodologies by Stanford neuroscientists, the Neuroscience Gene Vector and Virus Core centralizes the process of producing and distributing viral vectors and cDNA plasmids. This benefits SINTNís overall mission by preventing the duplication of efforts by Stanford faculty and thus greatly increasing the efficiency of all of SINTNís programs.