[FUN_Mail] New neurophysiology course

Richard Olivo rolivo at smith.edu
Wed Nov 10 16:46:53 UTC 2021

I'll add that my neurophysiology lab course has an open website with
procedures and videos for some of the same experiments, plus support for a
lab project on the central pattern generator for crayfish swimmerets. The
lab website is linked from http://tinyurl.com/SmithBio330, and a JUNE
article about the course was published in 2003:

We too use LabChart to record long episodes of repetitive firing, and I've
included instructions for handling those records on the website (see
I must add that I have been requesting a PST analysis channel from AD
Instruments for many years, and for many years I have been disappointed by
their courteous but (non) response. LabChart's instantaneous firing rate
for plotting the output from the spike histogram module overemphasizes
occasional short intervals between spikes. A PST plot would instead count
and plot spikes in equal time bins, with an adjustable binwidth. LabChart
actually has PST software for a pop-up window, but not for an analysis
channel that could be added to the original data record. As a result, we
often use integrals of activity, a workaround that is a bit tricky to use
because of the need to select a useful decay rate. I'd be glad to discuss
this further if anyone is interested, and details of our LabChart procedure
are in the webpage listed in this paragraph.

with best wishes,

Richard F Olivo, PhD
Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience, Smith College
Founding Editor, Educational Resources (ERIN), Society for Neuroscience
       44 College Lane, Smith College, Northampton MA 01063
       413 585-3822 • http://tinyurl.com/bio300http://tinyurl.com/smithbio330

On Tue, Nov 9, 2021 at 11:26 PM Ashley L Juavinett <ajuavinett at ucsd.edu>

> 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/
> Best,
> Ashley
> - - -
> *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
> http://neuroedu.biosci.ucsd.edu
> On Nov 5, 2021, at 7:15 AM, Greta Ann Herin <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:
> https://gmu.campus.eab.com/pal/IJZZ3hNwuk
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