[FUN_Mail] New neurophysiology course

Ashley L Juavinett ajuavinett at ucsd.edu
Wed Nov 10 04:25:26 UTC 2021

Hi Greta Ann!

I developed a very similar course a few years ago at UCSD! Here are my thoughts:

  *   We use AD instruments, and I have been happy with that choice. Their customer support is great and as you’ll see at Crawdad, they’re invested in helping instructors. It can be expensive, and they will break with enough student stress, but I think they’re the best on the market. We have been using the AM 3100 amplifiers with these systems but having some issues with them this quarter so I’m reluctant to recommend. I’ve found LabChart to be simple enough for students to use but complex enough that they can do analyses that resemble those done in research labs. I often have students export LabChart data into Excel or Python as well.
  *   This looks like a great list! Depending on the lab classes your students will have already taken, I think you could spend less time on "physiology fundamentals." In my course, students do very little of the items you listed (we prepare solutions for the lab in advance, e.g.). I find the introduction to recording and biopotentials (including learning LabChart software) to take more time than I expect, and I always wish I had more time for it. You probably know this, but the Crescent Loom team has developed some very solid lesson plans (https://crescentloom.com/resources). We do the earthworm lab as well and it works fairly well but you have to expect that students will go through a lot of worms — some just don’t seem to have a nervous system!
  *   Here’s my course website, with our syllabus and many protocols within! I’m happy to chat more if it’d be useful. https://sites.google.com/ucsd.edu/bipn145/


- - -
Ashley Juavinett, Ph.D.
Assistant Teaching Professor
BS/MS Program Co-Director
STARTneuro Co-Director
Neurobiology Faculty Advisor
UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences
Neurobiology Section
(858) 534-5878, York 4070C, Mail Code 0355
Pronouns: she/her

On Nov 5, 2021, at 7:15 AM, Greta Ann Herin <gherin at gmu.edu<mailto:gherin at gmu.edu>> wrote:

Hello, FUN Friends!
I have relatively new position* at George Mason University and am tasked with expanding the curriculum to include labs with our core Neuroscience courses. I'm starting with a Neurophysiology lab and have put some ideas together with the help of Corey Cleland (JMU) and some others. In addition, I plan to attend the January Crawdad session (thanks Crawdad folks!) The course will be designed for sophomore/ junior level undergrads with 3-4 Biology and Chemistry labs under their belt (although we are finding they need a lot of review of the basics). It will start next Fall as an elective but will move to a required course for our majors within 2 years. We plan to run 2 -3 sections of 16 students/section per semester eventually. It will be approximately 3 hours/ section. We have a shared, minimally equipped lab space. We do NOT want to use vertebrates for IACUC reasons.

If you have similar lab or just an opinion, I seek your advice for the following:

  *   What bioamplifier/ signal conditioner and software system do you use? We are leaning toward AD Instruments just due to familiarity and an attentive sales force, but we want to do our due diligence. What are your suggestions for choosing the right one? Our budget is not overly generous, but not limiting. We also want hardware that is fuss-free. We are looking at software and modules that lend themselves to quantitative labs.
  *   Here's a list of proposed activities (a hybrid between a research course we already have and ideas from C. Cleland). What do you include/ suggest? What do you find most easy or challenging for the students? What is most worth the effort, not worth the effort? What activities/ lessons need more time/ less time in your hands?
     *   Physiology Fundamentals (2-3 weeks) Review of measuring with micropipettors, serological pipettors, gross labware, using a balance. Making stock solutions including calculations, making physiological solutions, using pH meter, osmometer(?). Serial dilutions, concentration/ response curves and planning for drug application.
     *   Introduction to Biopotential Recording (1 week) Learn software, EMG.
     *   Computational section (3-4 weeks) Crescent Loom, central pattern generators.
     *   Robo-roach and EMG controlled grasping (?1 week)
     *   Extracellular Recording (1 weeks) Cockroach, Sensory Axons, “single unit”
     *   Action Potential Conduction Velocity (1 week), Cockroach
     *   Electrical Stimulation (1 week) Earthworm, Ventral Nerve Cord, Record Action Potential
     *   Assessments (1-2 weeks)
  *   Any other suggestions/resources/contacts you can give would be appreciated! Thanks!

GA Herin

*I am not new to teaching neuroscience but this will be my first neurophysiology lab for a course. I use two-electrode voltage clamp in xenopus oocytes for research.

Greta Ann (GA) Herin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Academic Advisor
Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience
Exploring the nervous system, from molecules to mind
Make an appointment with me for advising:

Krasnow Institute Room 255
George Mason University
4400 University Drive MS2A1
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 993-9720

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