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‘Patch-seq’ electrophysiology gaining popularity

A powerful neuroscience technique, patch-seq electrophysiology, is coming “back in vogue.” Christine Grienberger’s (BIOL) lab’s patch-seq work was featured in a Nov. 3 “Nature” technology feature titled “Patch-seq takes neuroscience to a multimodal place.”

This powerful neuroscience technique “links patch clamping to single-cell transcriptomics approaches,” and allows scientists to “acquire an electrophysiological readout with patch-clamp recording, obtain morphological data after infusing dye into the neuron and later using immunohistochemistry, and get a transcriptomic signature from single-cell RNA sequencing.” Patch-seq lets researchers “assess how similar or dissimilar individual cells are to neighbors in terms of their transcriptome, electrical activity and shape.”

This technique may be the next big thing because it allows many different sects of neuroscientists to communicate with each other, bringing together “anatomists, physiologists, molecular biologists and computational neuroscientists.”

The article also explores Grienberger’s use of Patch-seq for in vivo recordings, but adds that “interpreting the RNA-seq results was too challenging. The culprit was likely contamination.” Grienberger has “put these experiments on hold for the moment until she and her team find a way to do [patch-seq] well.”

On the university’s campus, Grienberger’s research uses “various techniques, including two-photon Ca2+ imaging, whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, and optogenetic perturbation of neuronal activity, to investigate the single-cell and population activity from hippocampal regions of mice actively engaged in a spatial memory paradigm.” On her lab’s website, Grienberger mentions that “answering the fundamental questions in neuroscience requires bridging multiple scientific disciplines, so we welcome people with different backgrounds and skills, from neuroscience, psychology, and physics to math, engineering, and computer science.”

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