Hex-ceptional Patching with the MicroStar
Tom Mrsic-Flogel and his colleagues at University College London have been carrying out in vivo two photon calcium imaging in conjunction with in vitro multiple patch clamp recording to untangle the complex interactions in the mouse visual cortex.
They used Scientifica's slimline MicroStar micromanipulator to synchronously record from six patched cells; this allowed them to study the properties of individual neurons which combine to produce a complex network of connections conveying sensory information in the brain.
Ho Ko from the team described the work they do and how the MicroStar increased the productivity of the team;
"Multiple patch clamp recording is a labour intensive task and one can only assess a small number of potential connections in each recording. Fortunately, the number of potential connections in each recording correlate with the square of the number of neurons patched. The small size of the Microstar manipulators allowed us to fit more manipulators around the rig, hence improving the yield of the experiments (we used six, allowing 6x5=30 potential connections to be assessed with every six cells patched)."
This elegantly illustrates how the MicroStar can integrate into the demanding constraints of a busy Electrophysiology lab; producing powerful results that, coupled with advanced imaging techniques, create a comprehensive study of neuronal interaction in the mouse visual cortex.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Mrsic-Flogel Lab and their visual neuroscience research.