Tips and tricks to improve your patch clamp experiments | Watch here

Tips and tricks to improve your patch clamp experiments: Watch the live recording here

On 13th April, Scientifica hosted a round-table discussion as part of the BNA Festival of Neuroscience. The discussion saw a panel of electrophysiology experts share their tips and tricks for performing patch clamp experiments, focusing on two main topics which were voted for by registrants: reducing noise and osmolarity of internal and external solution. Watch the video below to hear the panel’s tips and tricks for patch clamp electrophysiology, and watch this space for more webinars from Scientifica!

Dr Elisa Galliano, Dr Gillian Matthews, Dr Virginia Hawkins, Dr Brian Mathur, Dr Paul Chadderon, Dr Marco Navarro, Dr Rodrigo Bammann, and Dr Craig Blomeley, shared as much advice and relatable stories about patch clamp electrophysiology as they could in the 40-minute time slot. Craig Blomeley, who hosted the session, introduced ‘reducing noise’ as the first topic, and Elisa Galliano began by sharing a relatable story about a frustrating cause of noise early on in her career, which she explained taught her what a “dark art” hunting for noise can be! The discussion continued and the panel answered a range of questions asked by attendees, from ways of identifying sources of noise, to tips for those learning how to patch clamp.

The next topic saw advice being given around internal and external solution osmolarity, with tips for preparing and checking the suitability of internal solution, what to do if the osmolarity is incorrect, how much stock solution to make and how long to keep stock solution for.

About the panel

Dr Craig Blomeley, Scientifica

Craig’s interest in neuroscience intensified when studying biological sciences at UMIST, Manchester, which inspired him to complete a PhD in Neuroscience at Manchester University. This is where he used electrophysiology to investigate Parkinson’s Disease and how different regions of the Basal Ganglia are affected, publishing some groundbreaking discoveries.

After his PhD, Craig completed several Postdoc positions that eventually took him to Cambridge University (Denis Burdakov’s lab), where he got access to many new techniques and technologies including multiphoton imaging, calcium imaging, behavioural testing and photometry. When Denis moved onto the MRC center in Mill Hill (NIMR) and then when this merged with the Francis Crick Institute, Craig moved with him and continued to investigate how the nucleus accumbens interacts with the lateral hypothalamus with regards to naturalistic behaviours including feeding and anxiety. This resulted in several publications in world-renowned journals such as Nature.

Dr Rodrigo Bammann, Scientifica

Rodrigo first performed electrophysiology experiments during his master’s degree at the University of Warwick. In his PhD at the University of Leicester he used electrophysiology to investigate how nitric oxide and serotonin affect the electrical properties of cortical cells. As a postdoc at Universite Laval, Quebec, he patched granule and mitral cells of the olfactory bulb at the same time, while imaging calcium activities using a 2 photon system.

Dr Marco Navarro, Scientifica

Marco’s work was focused on learning how ion channel kinetics, particularly voltage-gated sodium channels, modify the activity of respiratory pacemakers. This work involved whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, ion channel kinetic modelling, dynamic clamp, and two-photon calcium imaging in neonatal rodent brainstem slices.

Dr Elisa Galliano, University of Cambridge

Elisa is a Lecturer in Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, where she is establishing her research group. Her work is primarily focused on investigating neuronal plasticity, previously in the cerebellum but is now focused on the olfactory system. Elisa started patching many years ago as an undergraduate student, and she has been using the mouse as a model organism for both ex vivo and in vivo functional experiments.

Dr Gillian Matthews, Salk Institute

Gillian’s research has involved using brain slice electrophysiology in combination with cell-type-specific labelling, retrograde tracers, and optogenetic tools to examine the functional connectivity of neural circuits. She has a particular interest in circuits connected to the midbrain dopamine system and how social experience can modify cellular and synaptic properties.

Dr Virginia Hawkins, Manchester Metropolitan University

Virginia learnt to patch astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in culture during her PhD with Prof. Arthur Butt at the University of Portsmouth. She worked him as an MRC postdoctoral research fellow for almost 3 years before working with Dr. Dan Mulkey at the University of Connecticut. Here, Virginia patched neurons and glial cells in brainstem slices, investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in respiratory brainstem responses to pH/CO2. She moved to Manchester Metropolitan in Aug 2019 as a Lecturer in Neurophysiology, and the current focus of her lab is the roles of K+ ion channels and receptors in neuron-glial-vascular communication that contribute to human respiratory pathologies, including respiratory compromise associated with injury and age-related brain disorders.

Dr Brian Mathur, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Brian is a systems neuroscientist broadly interested in synaptic function underlying cognitive control of action. Exploring this, his lab uses a variety of approaches, including slice electrophysiology, to study brain regions such as the striatum, thalamus, and claustrum in normal and alcohol use disorder contexts.

Dr Paul Chadderton, University of Bristol

Paul has applied the patch clamp technique in vivo since 2002, specialising in recordings from the neocortex and cerebellum in anaesthetised and awake animals. His work has included using the technique to record from cerebellar granule cells, the smallest neurons in the brain. Paul’s lab studies how the circuitry of the cerebellum combines different classes of input (motor, sensory, cognitive) to make predictions about the world.

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