Ion Channels in Synaptic and Neural Circuit Physiology
June 4 - 24, 2019
Application Deadline: March 1, 2019


Christoph Schmidt-Hieber, Pasteur Institute, France
Annalisa Scimemi, SUNY Albany
Nicolas Wanaverbecq, Aix-Marseille University, France


Angelika Lampert, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Jan Gründemann, University of Basel, Switzerland

See the roll of honor - who's taken the course in the past

Ion channels are the fundamental building blocks of excitability in the nervous system. The primary goal of this course is to demonstrate, through lectures and laboratory work, the different biophysical properties of ion channels that enable neurons to perform unique physiological functions in a variety of neural systems.

Areas of particular interest include:
  1. Voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels at central and peripheral synapses
  2. Synaptic integration and plasticity
  3. Neural circuit function in vitro and in vivo
  4. Optogenetic strategies for circuit manipulation

A typical day consists of morning lectures followed by hands-on laboratory practical sessions in the afternoon and evening with guest lecturers available to give one-on-one practical advice.

The laboratory component of the course introduces students to state-of-the-art electrophysiological approaches for the study of ion channels in their native environments.

The course provides students with hands-on experience in:
  • Using patch-clamp electrophysiology to examine single channel activity in cultured cells
  • Ion channel biophysics in acutely dissociated neurons and synaptic integration
  • Plasticity and circuit dynamics in in vitro slice and in vivo preparations

Different recording configurations will be used (e.g. cell-attached, whole-cell dendritic and somatic patch, voltage- and current-clamp configurations) and the advantages and limitations of each method will be discussed in relation to specific scientific questions. The course will also provide practical experience in cellular and circuit manipulation techniques (i.e. pharmacological, electrophysiological and optogenetic) both in vitro and in vivo.

Admissions priority will be given to students and postdocs that can show a demonstrated interest and specific plans to apply these techniques to a defined scientific problem.

2019 Guest Speakers Include:

Bruce Bean, Harvard Medical School, MA
Christine Beeton,
Baylor College of Medicine, TX
McLean Bolton,
Max Planck Florida Institute
Tiago Branco,
University College London, United Kingdom
Jeremiah Cohen,
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, MD
Meaghan Creed, Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Jeffrey Diamond, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, MD
Joshua Dudman, Janelia Research Campus, VA
Ian Duguid,
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Sonia Gasparini,
Louisana State University Health Sciences Center, LA
Paul Kammermeier, University of Rochester Medical Center, NY
Fernanda Laezza, The University of Texas Medical Branch, TX
Linda Overstreet-Wadiche, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL
Andrew Plested, Leibnitz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology, Germany 
Jesper Sjostrom, McGill University, Canada 
Nelson Spruston, Janelia Research Campus, VA
Matthew Xu-Friedman, State University of New York Buffalo, NY

Support & Stipends


We would like to acknowledge the following companies that provided invaluable support:

  • Microscopes: Nikon Instruments, Inc., Scientifica
  • Equipment: Campden Instruments, LTD, Intan Technologies LLC, Molecular Devices, LLC, Narishige International USA, Sutter Instrument Company, World Precision Instruments

Stipends are available to offset tuition costs as follows:

Please indicate your eligibility for funding in your stipend request submitted when you apply to the course. Stipend requests do not affect selection decisions made by the instructors.

Cost (including board and lodging): $4,990

No fees are due until you have completed the full application process and are accepted into the course. Students accepted into the course should plan to arrive by early evening on June 3 and plan to depart after lunch on June 24.

Before applying, ensure you have:
  1. Personal statement/essay;
  2. Letter(s) of recommendation;
  3. Curriculum vitae/resume (optional);
  4. Financial aid request (optional).
    More details.

If you are not ready to fully apply but wish to express interest in applying, receive a reminder two weeks prior to the deadline, and tell us about your financial aid requirements, click below: