Electrophysiology (Patch-clamp, field recordings, neurons, cardiac & more)
Electrophysiology is the study of the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues, such as the electrical activity of neurons in the brain or myocytes in the heart. In neuroscience, electophysiology techniques include field recordings for measuring activity from cell populations, patch-clamp electrophysiology measuring single neuron or single ion channel activity, and much more. In cardiology, electrophysiology has helped scientists and clinicians to better understand how the heart functions, with the potential to treat cardiac diseases. Other applications of electrophysiology include studying excitable cells in muscle fibers, pancreatic beta cells, and ion channels in the kidney nephron.
Because patch-clamp electrophysiology is such a fine and delicate laboratory technique, obtaining healthy tissue slices with a high number of viable cells is crucial to successful experiments. In neurobiology, acute brain slices need to have a high ratio of viable neurons within the top few cellular layers that can be patch-clamped with ease. The process of cutting brain slices also needs to occur rapidly, to prevent neuron death. Therefore, the process requires a vibratome that can quickly make high quality acute brain slices without shearing neurons on the surface.