Tools and Techniques
Our methods portfolio
All-optical circuit interrogation
We use and develop state-of-the-art technology for all-optical circuit interrogation based on 2-photon microscopy and holographic optogenetics. We have ~ten individual 2-photon setups, including in our imaging facility, which presents one of the highest densities in the UK.
We use a wide range of single-photon fluorescence microscopy approaches, ranging from standard confocal microscopy to spinning disk and Airydisk setups. Many of these setups are housed in our central microscopy facility available for anyone to use.
Consolidated recently in the Sussex Neuroscience Making lab, we are intimately involved in the development, testing and promotion of open source hardware approaches for devising state of the art neuroscience equipment for a fraction of the commercial cost.
Massively parallel electrophysiology
We employ diverse forms of single-cell electrophysiological approaches, ranging from various forms of patch clamp rigs to the use of sharps and extracellular techniques. A great number of rigs are in regular use.
SNAC researchers use virtual reality to create optometric tests, and to manipulate the statistics of natural scenes to study how the visual system adapts to environmental perturbations. We also use VR with animal models during physiological experiments and behaviour.
We use genetically-tractable models to map the impact of the genetic programme on the workings of the brain. By coupling this neurogenetic approach to neuron-specific RNA sequencing we track mechanisms from molecules to complex behaviours
Our extensive facilities in molecular biology allow us to assay or manipulate the expression of genes and their encoded proteins: from mutating genes and fluorescently labelling proteins to developing and expressing optical tools or reporters.
Psychophysicists at Sussex use precicely calibrated visual displays and light sources to investigate and model human colour perception. We also use a wide range of psychophysical approaches to study the brain’s capacity to process sound, touch, and time.
Neuroimaging and EEG
Sussex is home to two MRI scanners (1.5T and 3T) for structural and functional neuroimaging. Additionally, it has EEG facilities including 128 channel ANT-neuro EEG systems, and is developing technology to use optical atomic magnetometry for magetoencephalography.
Across our labs we use closed-loop Virtual Reality systems, high-throughput behaviour monitoring and innovative technology in real world environments all to record the naturalistic behaviour engaged in sensory-driven behaviours. We also combine this with our diverse tools for recording neuronal activity.
High Performance Computing
Working at the intersection of neuroscience, embodied AI and robotics we use a range of high performance computing resources (GPU/CPU clusters) for a broad range of applications such as running resource-intensive models and ‘big data’ analysis techniques to identify structure in our diverse and high dimensional datasets.
We use state of the art technologies for carrying out nanoscale interrogation of brain tissue. Our systems include a 120 kV tomography transmission electron microscope and an optically controlled high-pressure freezer platform that allows the capture of millisecond-order snapshots of neuronal signalling events.