In Plymouth, the QPatch Compact is used for teaching patch clamp and electrophysiology

This and next week, at the Marine Biological Association Laboratory in Plymouth in the UK, Sophion Biocience’s application scientist Sarah Lilley is giving lectures and hands-on teaching on patch clamp and electrophysiology using the QPatch Compact.

The Microelectrode Techniques course, now in its 38th year, is a 2-week annual event hosted at the Marine Biological Association Laboratory in Plymouth. These are the same labs where Hodgkin and Huxley conducted their squid giant axon experiments, which revealed the ionic basis of nerve conduction, eventually earning them a Nobel prize.

At this well-known and respected training ground for electrophysiologists, Sarah for the 6th time, is teaching techniques including single-electrode, two-electrode, and discontinuous whole-cell recording, single-channel analysis, brain slice recording, dynamic clamp, fluorescence indicators, ion-sensitive microelectrodes, microscopy, and electronics to PhD students, post-docs, and early career researchers from an academic background.

“My motivation for trying to place automated patch clamp technology alongside manual patch clamp, in the minds of those at the start of their research careers, is to show its value in augmenting manual patch clamp recording rather than replacing it”, explains Sarah Lilley.

"Thankfully, the mindset that automated patch clamp is ‘cheating’ or ‘unskilled’ is gradually changing, especially as the number of drug discovery and translational projects now originating from within academia is increasing"

— Sarah Lilley, Application Scientist, Sophion Bioscience

The QPatch Compact was received with great enthusiasm from the students and teachers alike, especially as the lecture involved me setting up the QPatch Compact out of the box in front of everyone and with a live dry demo in the lecture room”, says Sarah Lilley. “In two hours,  I set up, gave a lecture involving an interactive demo, and packed-down the instrument again”, Sarah Lilley continues.

After the lecture, the QPatch Compact was moved to the labs and set up again for wet experiments using cells expressing hERG and Nav1.7 channels. The students were divided into small groups where they had the chance to make recordings and try out the instrument and the software for themselves.

“As well as improving knowledge on patch clamping and technology, the course provides valuable career-long networking opportunities and friendships, with many students coming back to teach on the course in subsequent years”, Sarah Lilley concludes.

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