ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY CORE 1. MAIN OBJECTIVES AND NEW DIRECTIONS The Electrophysiology Core will be a new facility. Currently, there is no unified Electrophysiology Core Facility to link neuroscientists on the La Jolla Torrey Pines Mesa. Therefore, this Electrophysiology facility will constitute a new Core to foster collaborations among neuroscientists in the San Diego area. Understanding how the nervous system works requires electrophysiological techniques to gain insights into how synaptic activity is regulated and modulated. The Electrophysiology Core of this Neuroscience Blueprint Initiative aims to make available electrophysiology as a research tool to a wide number of neuroscientists on the Torrey Pines Mesa. In the past several years, the Co- Directors of this Core, Dr. Stephen F. Helnemann and Dr. Charles F. Stevens made major contributions to understanding the functions of the two major excitatory transmitter systems, the nicotinic acetylcholine and glutamate receptor systems. Their work provided major insights into mechanisms of synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. Both researchers have contributed their knowledge and effort to a series of collaborations with neuroscientists who do not have direct expertise or the experimental set-up for electrophysiological analyses. While these collaborations accomplished significant research advancements, investigators always depended on whether the host laboratory could accommodate additional experiments in terms of instrument availability and personnel. With the increasing need for electrophysiology by developmental and systems neurobiologists, it is timely to fill the need for additional capacity in electrophysiology. To accomplish that and to further increase collaborative ventures between neuroscientists on the Torrey Pines Mesa, a new core facility for electrophysiology will be created as part of the Neuroscience Blueprint Initiative. Dr. Stephen Heinemann and Dr. Charles Stevens will serve as Co-Directors for this core and are committed to contribute to the design of electrophysiological experiments by the core users. The Electrophysiology Core has two goals: First, to provide expertise and instrumentation for electrophysiological experiments by neuroscientists at the Salk Institute, UCSD, Burnham Institute for Biomedical Research (BIMR) and The Scripps Research Institute;and second, to enhance neuroscience through dialogue and collaboration between the scientists of these institutes. The Electrophysiology Core adds a new research dimension that will provide the tools and know-how for functional and activity-dependent studies designed to acquire knowledge of the activity-dependent changes occurring in neurons either intrinsically or in response to external signals. The research projects proposed by the major users require studies of neuronal activity in brain slices and/or primary neuron cultures. Moreover, this core will inter-phase with the cores for Viral Vectors/siRNA and for Molecular Imaging cores to test fluorescently tagged wild type and mutant proteins in neuronal functions after ectopic expression in brain slices and primary cells.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
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Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
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