The major aim of our Laboratory is to contribute to our understanding of how information is coded, processed, and stored in the CNS. We believe that understanding neuronal information processing requires the definition of: (i) neuronal elements of a brain circuit, (ii) intrinsic properties of the neurons, (iii) synaptic connectivity patterns among the constituting nerve cells, and (iv) precise operation of synapses. Specifically, our group combines in vitro electrophysiology and computer modeling with cellular and molecular neuroanatomy, to experimentally address how primary olfactory information is processed in the olfactory bulb and transmitted to the cortex. Furthermore, we also aim to reveal the precise operation of cortical glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses, with special reference to the regulation of transmitter release, mechanisms of short-term plasticity, and postsynaptic receptor activation.
Short general presentation
The Laboratory of Cellular Neurophysiology was established by Zoltan Nusser when he returned to Hungary in the summer of 2000. Dr Nusser has received two laboratory rooms (~44 m2) to establish an in vitro electrophysiology and a neuroanatomy lab. All members of the laboratory reside in one office (~18 m2).
In our electrophysiology lab two patch-clamp instruments have been set up, allowing multiple whole-cell recordings from visually identified neurons in acute brain slices. All equipment has been purchased from support obtained from the Wellcome Trust (a CRIG grant) and the James McDonnell Foundation. Attila Losonczy joined our laboratory as a graduate student in July 2000 and Agota Biro, also a graduate student, in September 2001. Both of them made vital contributions to our physiological experiments. Attila left us in August 2003 and joined Dr Jeff Magees lab as a postdoctoral scientist. Miklos Antal (also a graduate student) replaced Attila in September 2003 and he is in his initial training period as a cellular neurophysiologist.
Initially, our anatomical experiments were performed in one laboratory, but in 2001 another small lab. (~6 m2) was allocated to us. All anatomical incubations and reactions are performed in our large lab, and the small lab is used for EM sectioning and LM imaging. We have purchased major equipment necessary for standard LM and EM experiments [e.g. a vibratome (Leica VT1000S), an ultramicrotome (Leica UCT), light microscopes with CCD cameras (Olympus BX61)] and for the cryo techniques [e.g. a plunge freezer (Leica EMCPC), an automatic freeze-substitution apparatus (Leica AFS), a high-pressure freezer (Leica EMPACT)] from funding provided by the Human Frontier Science Program, the Japanese Science & Technology Co-operation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr Noemi Holderith joined our lab as a young postdoctoral scientist in July 2001 and made important contributions to our anatomical experiments. Andrea Lorincz was a visiting PhD student from the University of Szeged in our lab for 8 months. She has contributed to several original anatomical observations. Dr Bernadett Kalmar (young scientist) worked with us for 9 months in 2003.
The Institute finances the income of two scientists (including Dr Nussers) and a technician in the Laboratory of Cellular Neurophysiology. The salary of the remaining members of the laboratory has been provided by international scholarships and grants (e.g. two Boehringer scholarships). The running cost, consumables, minor equipment are covered from International grants, the most significant ones are from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and from the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Nusser received an International Senior Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust in September 2003, providing support for major capital equipment, consumables, and for Dr Nussers salary. We have obtained a JEOL JEM1011 electron microscope with a CCD camera (May 2004) and we are in the process of purchasing a patch-clamp set-up with two-photon imaging facilities (delivered in the summer of 2004). Experiments with these instruments will help us to fulfill some of our aims in the future. To house our new equipment, three new laboratory rooms (~54 m2) were allocated to our Group in the spring of 2004. At the same time, Dr Nusser has also received an office.
For more information, please also see: http://www.koki.hu/main.php?folderID=905 and http://www.koki.hu/main.php?folderID=933&articleID=3899&color=zold
A full publication record can be found here.