76905 Research methods in neurobiology: Biophysics and electrophysiology
The course presents the main and basic methods in biophysical and electrophysiological study of the nervous system, and demonstrates modern research techniques. Students learn to read critically and comprehend current scientific publications.
The course consists chiefly of laboratory work. The experiments utilize equipment currently employed in modern neurobiological research. Theoretical subjects related to apparatus demonstrated will be taught before each session. The biological background will be studied and additional reading material will be distributed. Emphasis is placed on conducting experiments independently. Students perfect their skills gradually as the experiments become more complex. As a summary of the course, the students will plan and conduct an independent research project.
- The basic system used for electrophysiological experiments. The theoretical basis of recording amplifiers and use of micro-electrodes to administer intra-cell stimuli. Systems used for stimulation, data recording and analysis
- Characterization of the passive and active properties of neurons by stimulation and intra-cell recording with micro-electrodes
- The principles of voltage clamp amplifiers. Methods for characterizing time and voltage dependent ionic currents. Performing experiments to characterize these currents in a neuron
- The synaptic exocytic mechanism. Statistical methods for characterizing the course of neurotransmitter release. The patch clamp method used for recording synaptic currents at the neuro-muscular junction
- Principles of patch clamp amplifiers. Methods for statistical and biophysical characterization of single ion channels. Approaches to theoretical analysis of single channel activity
- Research methods in the study of the central nervous system's activity. Experimentation in brain slices. Characterization of plastic processes - such as long term potentiation (LTP) in the hypocampus - involved in learning and memory
- Units recording of the sensory cortex in anesthetized rats.
- Previous knowledge in neurobiology is required. Suggested courses: 72369 and 76940
- Restricted to 16 students.