MBL Neurobiology 2017


Section Description: The objective of the electrophysiology section is to learn electrophysiology from first principles to practical application. Students will receive lectures from leading scientists that range from the basics of whole cell recordings to ion channel structure/function to the molecular basis and modulation of synaptic transmission. Students will rotate through a series of experimental preparations that include the invertebrate neuromuscular junction, single channel recording and analysis in cultured cells, whole cell currents in cultured cells, and in vivo patch clamp recordings in tissue slices and intact central nervous system and glutamate uncaging. Rotations will be followed by independent research projects. These projects will be short, original research projects designed and executed under the guidance of individual teams of faculty and TAs. The goal is attain a basic understanding of the theory and application of a wide range of modern electrophysiological techniques and the application of these techniques toward solving outstanding questions in modern neuroscience.

Electrophysiology Resources:

Electrophysiology Readings (Dropbox Link) – use course login

Course Lectures (Dropbox link)

Tutorial Simulations and Other Educational Materials

Neuroscience Online – A surprisingly good free online textbook.
Neurons in Action – A great set of simulations of basic electrophysiological principles. Not free, but we will install it in some of the lab computers.
Nernst/Goldman Equation Simulator – Web-based simulator of N/G equation, useful for understnading concept of resting membrane potential.
Simulations of ion channels and excitable membranes – A useful online simulation from Pancho Benzanilla to better understand channel function. Uses outdated Java, so may not work.
MetaNeuron– A free computer program desinged to simulate passive and active membrane properties and synaptic transmission. Very intuitive.
Neuron– A fully-featured neuron simulator used in several research labs. Links to program, documentation and datasets can be found here. Best of all, it’s FREE!
SimePhys – Not very well developed ephys experiment simulator
SNNAP – Simulator for neural networks and action potentials
Electrophysiology of the Neuron – My favorite one, if you can get it to run on your machine.
Neuron Simulation Lab – Various ell designed tutorial simulating various single cell experiments, free from Amrita University, in India.
NeuroElectro – Database of various electrophysiological properties from various cell types.
NeuroLex – Morphology Database of various cell types, useful for modelling.
NeuroMorpho.org – Another morphology database
Allen Brain Atlas (Cell Types) – Database of electrophysiology and morphology properties from lots of cells. Not many cells yet, but very usable data and interface.

Electrophysiology Syllabus

Daily Schedule (some exceptions noted below)

9:00 – 11:30: Lecture

11:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch/ Free time

1:30 – 6:00 pm: Lab

6:00 – 7:00 pm: Dinner/Free time

7:00 pm – evening: Lab and/or evening seminar


June 11 – Sun             6pm-9pm: Bar-B-Q in front of Loeb. Meet Physiology Faculty

June 12 – Mon            9am-12:00 Lecture: Jon Sack – Introduction to Voltage Clamp

1:30-6pm: Model Cell Demo, Rig tour

8:00pm Monday Night Lecture: Kravitz Lecture: Karla Kaun, NYU

June 13 – Tues           9am-12:00 Lecture: Jon Sack – Single Channel Recording

1:30-evening: Rotations

June 14 – Wed           9am-12:00 Lecture: Diana Bautista – Intro to Whole Cell Recording, TRP Channels

1:30-evening: Rotations

 June 15 – Thurs          9am-12:00 Lecture: Carlos Aizenman – Action Potentials, Regulation of Excitability

1:30-evening: Rotations

June 16 – Fri               9am-12:00 Lecture: Rod McKinnon – Structure of Ion Channels

1:30-evening: Rotations

June 17 – Sat             OFF

June 18 – Sun             OFF

June 19 – Mon            9am-12:00 Lecture: Ellen Lumpkin – Mechanotransduction

1:30-6pm: Rotations

8:00pm Monday Night Lecture: Stuart Firestein (Columbia)

June 20 – Tues           9am-12:00 Lecture: Emily Liman – Taste

1:30-6pm: Rotations

Evening: Projects Meeting (Jar of Destiny) and Beer!

June 21 – Wed             9am-12:00 Lecture: Patrick Kanold – Tools for probing neural circuits

1:30-evening: Rotations

Evening: Ephys Review – As needed

June 22 – Thur         9am-12:00 Lecture: Barry Connors (Brown) – Neural circuit dynamics and gap junctions

1:30-evening: Projects 

June 23 – Fri               9am-12:00 Lecture: Martin Mueller – Synaptic Transmission and Ca++ signaling

1:30-evening: Projects

 June 24 – Sat             Day/Evening: Projects

 June 25 – Sun             OFF

 June 26 – Mon            9am- 12:00 Lecture: Ricardo Araneda – Olfaction

1:30-evening: Projects

8:00pm Monday Night Lecture: Gina Turrigiano, Brandeis

 June 27 – Tues             9am-12:00 Lecture: Gina Turrigiano, Synaptic Plasticity

1:30-evening: Projects

June 28 – Wed              9am-12:00 Lecture: Kara Pratt – Development of Neural Circuits

1:30-evening: Projects

4:30-6pm: Meeting with Electron Microscopy Faculty (??)

June 29 – Thur               9am-12:00: Vilu Maricq – TBD

1:30-evening: Last day of recordings, end at dinner. Presentation prep, data analysis, etc.

June 30 – Fri                  9am-12:00: No Lecture, cleanup.

3:00-5:30 pm: Presentations (followed by photo)

6:30pm: End of Cycle Party

July 1 – Sat                OFF 

July 2 – Sun                OFF (start of Imaging Cycle Bar-B-Q in evening, 6pm Loeb Patio)



Carlos Aizenman                   Brown University                    [email protected]

Kara Pratt                             University of Wyoming              [email protected]

Ellen Lumpkin                         Columbia Univ.                       [email protected]

Diana Bautista                        UC Berkeley                           [email protected]

Ricardo Araneda                     Univ. Maryland                       [email protected]

Jon Sack                                UC Davis                                [email protected]

Martin Mueller                         Univ. Zurich                            [email protected]

Patrick Kanold                        Univ. of Maryland                   [email protected]

Emily Liman                            USC                                      [email protected]



Ruilong Hu                  Team Araneda; [email protected]


Zhenyu Liu                 Team Pratt/Aizenman; [email protected]




Barry Connors                          Brown University

Rod MacKinnon                       Rockefeller University

Karla Kaun                               Brown University

Gina Turrigiano                        Brandeis University

Stuart Firestein                        Columbia