Consolidation Course WS 2022/2023

Name of the course:

ZL: On communication in the nervous system - from micro to macro level


Master MLS

Master NM

Master BP

Leader:Lisa Marshall

Helge Müller-Fielitz, Jan Wenzel, Enrico Leipold, Lisa Marshall

Location:CBBM, 2nd and 3rd floor

Practical course with lectures and seminars


Communication within the nervous system is complex. Signaling between cells (such as neurons, glia, and endothelial cells) involves both electric (action potentials, ionic currents) and neurochemical routes. In cell cultures, spontaneous inter-cellular signaling as well as responses to exogenous manipulations can be measured. Inter-cellular signaling is largely dependent upon intracellular mechanisms, such as changes of intracellular Ca2+ ions or cAMP as second messengers. Zooming out, network activity of the brain, as reflected by far-field potentials such as the EEG (electroencephalography), differs qualitatively from the sum of cell-cell interactions. Signaling from all these micro to macro level systems evolves over time from milliseconds, seconds to hours and more. In this course, students will learn and apply methods such as calcium imaging, patch clamp, and EEG to study basic mechanisms underlying neuronal communication at micro and macro levels.

Each student is to present an original article on one of the course topics.

Content: Lectures 
  • Generation of micro-level electrophysiological activity and principles of measurement (Assessment of ion channel activity using the patch clamp technique. Analysis of action potential generation.)
  • Generation and signaling of intracellular molecules and principles of measurement (Measurement of intracellular cAMP and calcium levels with special protein-based sensors)
  • Generation of macro-level electrophysiological activity and principles of measurement (Relationship between electroencephalography, event-related potentials, local field potentials, unit activity; responses to exogenous auditory or electric stimulation; recording parameters)
Content: Practical work 
  • Measurements in primary cultures and on acute brain slices of
    • Intracellular second messenger alterations
    • Comparative imaging of other molecules
  • Electrophysiology on cell cultures using patch clamp
  • Human electrophysiology (EEG, event-related potentials), non-invasive stimulation

Lectures & seminars, practical course work, video supplements

Max. participants:6