Tools, Techniques and Infrastructure

Our facilities

Within individual SNAC labs, and centrally across our respective schools, we have access to a wide range of cutting-edge technologies for the interrogation of neural circuits and computation.

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.

Key labs: Baden, Lagnado, Maravall, Schröder, GuthrieAlonso

Fluorescence microscopy

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.

Key labs: Staras, Richardson, Penn, Alonso, Guthrie, Lagnado, Baden, Schröder, Kros

Open Hardware

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.

Key labs and resources: Open-Labware.net, open-neuroscience.com, SN-GitHub, Baden lab

Massively parallel electrophysiology

We use a variety of high-density electrode arrays for recording from 100s or 1000s of neurons at a time. These include a 4096 channel 3Brain system and, more recently, neuropixel setups for recording from the live brain in rodents.

Key labs: Maravall, BadenOsorio, Schröder, Lagnado

Single-cell 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.

Key labs: Staras, Penn, Niven, Graham, Kros, Kemenes I, Kemenes GMaravall, Lagnado, Baden, Collett, Nowotny

Robotics

Several members work on the development and exploration of state of the art robotics control systems and their mechanical implementations. For this, they  also have access to a wide range of facilities for building and testing their creations.

Key labs: Philippides, Nowotny, Graham, Husbands

Virtual Reality

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.

Key labs: Bosten, Franklin, Buckley, Niven

Genetic manipulation

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

Key labs: Alonso, Richardson, Guthrie, Lagnado, Penn, Baden, Schröder

Molecular biology

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.

Key labs: Penn, Alonso, Richardson, Guthrie, Lagnado, Staras, Baden, Schröder, Maravall, Kros

Hyperspectral imaging

With a particular focus on colour vision in several of our labs, we employ state of the art approaches in hyperspectral imaging to study the links between colour sensation, neuronal circuits, perception and spectral information in the world around us.

Key labs: Franklin, Bosten, Baden, Osorio

Psychophysics

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.

Key labs: Bosten, Franklin, Sohoglu, Maravall, Roseboom

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.

Key labs: Franklin, Roseboom, Sohoglu, Bosten, Berthouze

Behaviour

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.

Key labs: Graham, Niven, Collett, Buckley, Nicholls, Baden, Maravall, Schröder, Alonso, Berthouze, Collett, Philippides, Nowotny, Richardson, Kemenes G, Kemenes I,

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.

Key labs: Buckley, Nowotny, Berthouze, Philippides, Husbands, Baden, Bosten

Electron Microscopy

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.

Key labs: Staras, Baden, Richardson, Lagnado

Model systems

Welcome to the SNAC-Zoo!