Progress in science depends mainly on techniques

Electrophysiology & Imaging Techniques for Cell Physiology

The course history

In the early 1980’s the patch clamp ‘revolution’ made voltage clamp recording possible in small cells for the first time. The properties of ion channels and transporters were seen with single molecule kinetic resolution, and access was gained to the cytosol for labelling and measurement. Hands-on training was needed in this area of physiology.

The first Microelectrode Techniques course was held in April 1984 for 12 PhD students and post-docs. The guest lecturers included David Colquhoun, Bernard Katz, Richard Keynes, Tim Rink, Martin Thomas and Roger Thomas, and there were 6 experimental rigs. There are usually 20 students for hands-on, 10 rigs and 50 faculty.

FAQ on the course

Online this year but onsite usually

Lectures will be broadcasted via Zoom Webinar, which allow interactions via Q&A sections and chat, replays…


The online version will be free of charge but registration is compulsory.


For two weeeks, every week day a session of two 75 minutes lectures of will be broadcasted.


Registration opens on August 1st.
Course start on September 1st and end on September 15th.

The MBA and the course

           The Marine Biological Association (the MBA) has a strong tradition in physiology research arising from the availability of model preparations suited for electrophysiology.  In more recent years, researchers at the MBA have increasingly applied single cell physiological approaches to a wide range of organisms, allowing both fundamental studies of cell biology and evolution alongside those aimed to increase understanding of the impacts of environmental change on marine organisms and communities. There has always been an active visitors programme to cater for short stay scientific collaborations at the MBA so accommodation and support was available for the students and teachers of the first Plymouth courses.


Voltage clamp – The ‘squid axon voltage clamp’, Twin microelectrode and single electrode ‘switch’ clamp.

Patch clamp High resolution single channel recording, Whole cell and permeabilised patch recording

Slice preparation and recording

Patch clamp in vivo

Dynamic clamp  – Controlling membrane conductance, simulating action potentials and  synaptic potentials

Extracellular Recording, multielectrode recording

Ion selective microelectrodes –  Electrochemistry, Making ISME electrodes.

Secretion – Capacitance measurements, Amperometry, Optical methods

Intracellular ion channels – Isolation, Incorporation, Bilayer recording

Signal Processing – Filtering and Digitisation

Data analysis – Interpretation, Statistical analysis

Optical Imaging

Microscopy and optical imaging


Fluorescent Ca and pH indicators


Ratiometric methods

Genetically encoded indicators

Photolysis and Optogenetics