We read and suggest the book by Karl Deisseroth “Projections: A Story of human emotions”.
- Rating (Goodreads): 4.0⭐ (~900+ votes)
- Author: Karl Deisseroth (Twitter: @KarlDeisseroth)
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publication Date: June 2021
The Writer: Karl Deisseroth
Karl Deisseroth, the writer of “Projections,” is an accomplished American psychiatrist, bioengineer, and neuroscientist. Born on November 18, 1971, in Boston, Massachusetts, he has made significant contributions to neuroscience and biomedical engineering. Deisseroth earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemical sciences from Harvard University in 1992. Later he received a doctorate in neuroscience from Stanford University, where he studied calcium signaling in neurons. He also completed a medical degree at Stanford and began a residency in psychiatry.
Deisseroth is best known for his development of innovative methods that have revolutionized the study of the brain. He played a key role in the development of optogenetics (described below), a research method that combines tools from optics and genetic engineering.
In addition to his work in optogenetics, Deisseroth has also developed methods for the chemical assembly of functional materials within biological tissue. This includes the development of the CLARITY method. A method that makes biological tissues, such as mammalian brains, translucent and accessible to molecular probes.
Deisseroth’s contributions have been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the 2016 Harvey Prize and the 2018 Gairdner Award for his work on optogenetics, the 2018 Kyoto Prize, the 2013 Pasarow Prize for neuropsychiatry research, and numerous other accolades.
As an educator, Deisseroth has been a principal investigator and clinical educator at Stanford University School of Medicine. Hence, he has been instrumental in developing and guiding the undergraduate degree in bioengineering. Not only that but he also treats patients with mood disorders and autism.
His book “Projections” reflects his deep understanding of the human mind and emotions!
Projections: A Story of Human Emotions by Karl Deisseroth, a Review
Deisseroth, a Stanford University professor of psychiatry, combines the personal and the clinical in his brilliant first book on how the human mind functions and what can be revealed when it malfunctions.
His book “Projections: A Story of Human Emotions” fills the gap between the primitive neural networks of our brain and the poignant instances of pain in our daily lives by utilizing cutting-edge research and compelling case studies from the author’s patients.
The author’s writing and stories will grab you from the first moment. In the first chapter “Storehouse of Tears” Karl describes two completely different incidents years apart from each other.
A little girl came for a checkup because she was experiencing some minor trouble with double vision which turned out to be a brain tumor. This almost broke him. At the time he felt like he couldn’t live like this, he couldn’t last in medicine; he kept going though. Years later, a young man loses his pregnant wife in a car accident where he was the driver. The man is looking for help because he lost the ability to cry. He doesn’t feel anything anymore after that loss. Two different patients in two different time frames will help Dr. Deisseroth connect the dots and see the connection between those two incidents. Both patients were suffering from a common cause in a region of the brain, the pons.
And this is only an abstract of the first chapter. In the book, apart from the insightful patients’ stories, you will find the fundamental concepts of optogenetics; the reason why Karl Deisseroth and colleagues won the prestigious Lasker Award.
Optogenetics – Karl Deisseroth
Karl Deisseroth and Ed Boyden are generally considered to be optogenetics inventors. Optogenetics is a technique to control and monitor the biological functions of a cell, group of cells, or organs.
They take genes, bits of DNA, from microbes (single-celled organisms), and these single-celled organisms, like algae, make little proteins that sit on the surface of their cells. When this protein receives light, opens up a little hole in the cell’s membrane and lets the charged particles ions, like sodium and potassium, flow across the cell’s membrane.
Of course, these algae and bacteria do this for their own reason because that helps them move, make and use energy, etc. But that’s a beautiful thing about neuroscience; because the movements of ions charge particles across the membrane of the cell. This is exactly the kind of electricity neurons work with.
So you could take this algae’s bit of DNA that encodes this beautiful protein that turns light into electricity and put it into some neurons but not into other neurons, by using genetic tricks. Then you get a situation where you can shine on the light and only the cells that have the gene will be activated. This is beautiful, isn’t it?
This and much more.
After all, this is just a review.
If you are into psychiatry, Projections by Karl Deisseroth is a must. Still, I will recommend the book to all who are interested in neuroscience.
Need more book recommendations? HERE!
Are you interested in learning more about the brain and neuroscience? There are so many great books available that can provide fascinating insights into this complex and endlessly fascinating subject. From exploring the latest discoveries in brain science to delving into the mysteries of consciousness, there is something for everyone in the world of neuroscience literature.
Hence, I encourage you to continue your exploration of this fascinating field. How? Firstly by exploring some of my other neuroscience (and more) book recommendations. Whether you’re a student, a researcher, or simply someone with a curious mind, these books are sure to deepen your understanding of the brain and all its wonders.
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