Ion Channels in Synaptic and Neural Circuit Physiology
June 6 - 25, 2023

Key Dates
Application Deadline: March 1, 2023
Arrival: June 5th by 6pm EST
Departure: June 25th around 12pm EST

CSHL Courses are intensive, running all day and often including evenings and weekends; students are expected to attend all sessions and reside on campus for the duration of the course.

Teresa Giráldez, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain

Christine Grienberger, Brandeis University
Jan Gründemann, DZNE, Germany
Annalisa Scimemi, SUNY Albany
Nicolas Wanaverbecq, Aix-Marseille University, France


COVID-19: All participants planning to attend in-person will be required to attest to recent COVID vaccination (within one year of the course’s start date) with an FDA or WHO approved vaccine. Additional safety measures will be in line with current NY and Federal Guidelines applicable in Summer 2023.


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

Ion channels are the fundamental building blocks of activity 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 various 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

This intensive laboratory and lecture course will introduce the participants to state-of-the-art electrophysiological approaches to studying ion channels in their native environments, specifically focusing on understanding different biophysical phenomena from first principles. A typical day consists of morning lectures followed by hands-on laboratory practical sessions in the afternoons and evenings, with guest lecturers available to give one-on-one practical advice. The course participants will also learn how to troubleshoot their experiments and discuss and evaluate their data. 

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 slice and in vivo preparations

Different recording configurations and modes will be used (e.g., cell-attached and whole-cell configurations, voltage- and current-clamp modes, somatic and dendritic recordings from neuronal and non-neuronal cells), and the advantages and limitations of each method will be discussed in the context of cutting-edge scientific questions. The course will also provide practical experience applying cellular and circuit manipulation techniques in vitro (e.g., pharmacology and optogenetics).

In their personal statements, applicants should answer the following questions:

  • 1.What are your reasons for attending the course?
  • 2.How will the course help you in your current project?
  • 3.What are your long-term goals, and how will the course allow you to achieve them in your current environment?
  • 4.Are you prepared to extend your toolbox by learning different recording strategies and experimental preparations?
  • 5.What is your experience with data analysis and programming in MATLAB or Python?

  • All selected participants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with basic programming tools in MATLAB or Python before the course. 

    2023 Guest Speakers included:

    Jelena Baranovic, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom 
    Christine Beeton, Baylor College of Medicine
    Jeremiah Cohen, Johns Hopkins University 
    Henry Colecraft, Columbia University
    Ian Duguid, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom 
    Chris Dulla, Tufts University School of Medicine
    Lief Fenno, UT Austin/Dell Medical School
    Sonia Gasparini, LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans
    Timothy Harris, HHMI Janelia Research Campus
    John Huguenard, Stanford University
    Angelika Lampert, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany 
    Linda Overstreet-Wadiche, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Ede Rancz, AMU
    Vanessa Ruta, The Rockefeller University
    Jesper Sjostrom, McGill University, Montreal Qc, Canada 
    Lonnie Wollmuth, Stony Brook University
    Matthew Xu-Friedman, University of Buffalo

    Support & Stipends:

    We would like to acknowledge the following companies that offered invaluable support:
    Nikon Instruments, Inc, Scientifica
    Campden Instruments Ltd, Intan Technologies, LLC, Molecular Devices, LLC, Narshige International USA, Sutter Instrument Company, World Precision Instruments

    Major support provided by: Helmsley Charitable Trust and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


    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.

    Tuition, Room & Board : $5,500

    No fees are due until you have completed the full application process and are accepted into the course. 

    Before applying, ensure you have:

    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: