Research objectives and content
This project centers on the study of calcium-dependent release of neurotransmitter at inhibitory synapses in the molecular layer of the rat cerebellum.
The cerebellar slice preparation is advantageous for performing simultaneously Cai imaging in identified neuronal processes and electrophysiological recordings from pre- and post-synaptic neurons. At basket cell-Purkinje cell synapses patch-clamp pipettes may be used to control presynaptic excitability and to introduce into presynaptic terminals substances modulating synaptic function.
Using the above preparation and techniques we propose to study the role of several factors determining cerebellar inhibitory postsynaptic currents, including i) failures of action potential propagation, ii) Ca entry following presynaptic depolarization, and iii) Ca release from intracellular stores.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The applicant expects to gain extensive experience in combining electrophysiological recordings from pairs of neurons and simultaneous monitoring of intracellular calcium levels with fluorescence imaging methods. The host laboratory has gained a large experience in these techniques in past years, and intends to develop them further during the planned research period. Learning these techniques should endow the applicant with the capability to reach a high technical standard in her own future research projects after returning to Italy.