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A day in the life of a patch clamp electrophysiologist
Dr. Nasreen Choudhury, Postdoctoral Fellow, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, USA.
In patch clamp electrophysiology, one gets more productive with practice and experience. The secret is to practice it regularly and keep persevering. However, even the most seasoned electrophysiologists have bad days, when the smallest problems can lead to bad recordings or no recordings at all.
Though textbook methods for patch clamp might consist of a series of straight-forward steps, it is important to acknowledge several hiccups that often occur in between them. If you have come across the ‘Eat, Sleep, Repeat’ model, this flow chart for conducting patch clamp electrophysiology might interest you.
In an ideal world, following the highlighted steps would lead to perfect recordings, but, as we know, we do not conduct electrophysiology in an ideal world. There are possible hurdles at each step and also in between the steps, ranging from the electrode to the acquisition software. They might seem small on the surface, but they are critical, and it is best to address any issues as they occur.
With a technique like patch clamp electrophysiology, the devil is in the details and we are all in this together.
To help you overcome the various hurdles shown in the diagram and improve your electrophysiology experiments, take a look at some of the guides written by Scientifica’s experts:
- 14 sharp tips for patch clamping
- Tips for improving your electrophysiology experiments
- Tips for reducing pipette drift in electrophysiology experiments
- Using cell-attached patch clamp to monitor neuronal activity
- Electrophysiology: What goes on the inside?
- How to reduce the noise around your electrophysiology rig
- #LabHacks: To compensate or not to compensate, that is the question
- Electrophysiologists: Are we superstitious?
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