L'Équipe Sjöström

Present members

Jennifer Brock, MSc student: Sept 2016-present.

Jennifer obtained her Honours BMSc in Medical Science from The University of Western Ontario. She is interested in cellular mechanisms of memory formation and reconsolidation, and how the nervous and immune systems interact to precipitate disease and affect cognitive processes. She is presently working on the localization and function of the enigmatic presynaptic NMDA receptor using multiple whole-cell recordings and two-photon laser-scanning microscopy. Her project will serve to further our understanding of Spike-Timing Dependent Plasticity and its role in the refinement of neuronal circuits during development and in learning throughout life.

Christina Chou, MSc student: Sept 2013-present.

Christina started in the lab as a second-year biology student volunteer, taking care of breeding transgenic mice. She then did 2-photon imaging of back-propagating action potentials in dendrites as part of a 9-credit Independent Research Project, followed by another 12-credit Honours Research Project exploring NMDAR-mediated supralinear calcium transients in pyramidal cell axons using uncaging and 2-photon imaging. As of September 2016, she is a graduate student in the lab, exploring presynaptic NMDA receptors and their impact on neocortical plasticity.

Elvis Cela, PhD student: 2011 - present

Elvis received his bachelor's degree in neuroscience. Currently, he is developing a novel optogenetic method for exciting cortical microcircuits while using simultaneous whole-cell patch clamp recordings combined with two-photon imaging to monitor the ensuing changes in excitability and synaptic drive of the excited cells.

Amanda McFarlan, MSc student: Sept 2016-present.

Amanda obtained her Honours BSc in Neuroscience And Mental Health from Carleton University. She is interested mental health, and is presently studying epilepsy using a novel optogenetic model of epilepsy.

Libin Zhou, PhD student, Cell Biology: Apr 2017-present.

Libin received her Master degree in Medical Science from Nanjing Medical University in China. She is training as a PhD student in Cell Biology, previously under the supervision of Dr. Andréa LeBlanc at the Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, but as of Feb 2018 a full member of the team. In a collaborative project with Dr Sjöström's lab, she employs field and whole-cell recordings to study the role of Caspase-6 in synaptic dysfunction in the hippocampal CA1 region.

Former lab members

Therese Abrahamsson, post doc: 2012 - 2016

Therese did her PhD thesis, entitled "Plasticity of the developing glutamate synapse in the hippocampus" under the supervision of Dr Eric Hanse and Prof Bengt Gustafsson at the Gothenburg University, Sweden. Between 2007 and 2012, she did postdoctoral studies with Dr David DiGregorio at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, where she studied synaptic integration in cerebellar interneurons, using electrophysiological and imaging techniques.

In the Sjöström lab, Therese used 2-photon laser-scanning microscopy and patch-clamp recordings to study the role of presynaptic NMDA receptors in neocortical short-term plasticity. She also employed AMPA uncaging and electrophysiology to study cortical glial cells.

Arne V. Blackman, PhD student: UCL Neuroscience BSc 2nd year project 2008-2009 and 3rd year project 2009-2010, CASE BBSRC PhD Student 2010-2014.

Arne studied presynaptic NMDA receptors and neocortical interneuron classes. He employed whole-cell recordings and did morphological reconstructions from 2-photon microscopy stacks. After finishing his PhD, Arne begun working at Global Regulatory Affairs (R&D) at GSK.

Kate Buchanan, Postdoc: 2008-2011, funded through MRC Career Development Award.

Kate did her PhD work with Dr Jack Mellor at the MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, University of Bristol. In the Sjöström lab, Kate examined the the role of presynaptic NMDA receptors in neocortical plasticity. She employed 2-photon laser-scanning microscopy and targetted quadruple whole-cell recordings in acute slices from transgenic mice. Kate is presently on maternity leave.

Andrew Chung, undergraduate student, McGill BSc Neuroscience: March 2013 - Jan 2015.

Andrew does morphological reconstructions, he makes solutions, he builds 2-photon microscopes (the smiley in the picture was produced with a laser pointer and the XY scanner for a custom microscope), and he does paired recordings. In brief, he is a man of many trades.

Rui P. Costa, PhD student: Visiting MSc student in Neuroinformatics 2010, and visiting PhD student in Neuroinformatics, 2010-present, co-supervised with Dr. Mark van Rossum, Doctoral Training Centre in Neuroinformatics and Computational Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh.

Rui's focus was primarily on studying synaptic plasticity using computer models. Rui is now a postdoc in Tim Vogel's group at the Center for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, University of Oxford.

Chris Cremer, summer intern: 2012

Chris is an undergraduate student at McGill University in the field of Anatomy and Cell Biology. During the summer of 2012, Chris anatomically classified different interneuronal cell types of the neocortex microcircuit. He used the software NeuroMantic to digitally reconstruct interneuron morphologies from already collected 3D 2PLSM imaging data. Chris also helped custom-build 2-photon microscopes. Chris is now taking a Computer Science MSc at University of Toronto, where he is studying Computational Biology.

Dale Elgar, postdoc: funded by a Royal Society Industrial Fellowship, 2009-2011.

Dale did his MSc and PhD at the North-West University, South Africa, studying electrophysiology. While in the Sjöström lab, Dale developed technology for high-throughput patch recordings of small networks of connected neurons in a collaboration with Scientifica UK. He also developed 2-photon laser-scanning microscopes, and investigated short-term plasticity in neocortical circuits. He subsequently went on to work fulltime at Scientifica Ltd with 2-photon microscopes.

Alastair Garner, PhD rotation student: Jan 2017 - Apr 2017.

Alastair attained his bachelor's degree in Cell and Systems Biology from the University of Oxford. He has joined the lab as a rotation student for the first year of his PhD with an interest in investigating plasticity in neocortical circuits. The focus of his project is to perform whole-cell patch clamp recordings to study the connectivity of the primary motor cortex.

Carla Kalkhoven, visiting student: 2012-2013

Carla has a MSc in Medical Biology from the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and has previously studied microcircuit connectivity in the rodent somatosensory cortex with Dr. Dirk Schubert at Radboud University, and Dr. Jochen Staiger at Georg-August Universität in Göttingen, Germany. Carla now works at Nikon Amsterdam.

Elena Kutsarova, PhD rotation student: 2013

Elena did her MRes degree at Imperial College London, working on morphological maturation of cerebellar granule cells in Dr. Stephen Brickley's lab. In the Sjöström lab she anatomically classified cortical interneurons, doing 3-dimensional reconstructions of their morphology. During her rotation, Elena also spent time learning to do whole-cell patch clamp recordings in cortical pyramidal cells. Elena is currently doing a PhD in Dr. Edward Ruthazer's lab, studying molecular mechanisms, underlying Hebbian plasticity in the retinotectal system.

Txomin Lalanne, PhD student: Sep 2011 - Dec 2015.

Txomin obtained a Bachelor in Biochemistry and a Master in Neuroscience from Université Bordeaux 2 (Bordeaux, France).

He did his MSc in Dr. Julius Zhu's laboratory (Virginia, USA). There, he learned multiple whole cell recordings in cortical acute slices and digital reconstructions, studying the connectivity of inhibitory interneuron.

He combined multiple whole-cell recordings with 2-photon-laser-scanning microscopy in acute slices of mouse visual cortex, to study the synapse-specific expression of NMDA receptors and of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors.

Here is a photo of Txomin receiving the prestigious Award for First Primary Research Publication Out of the Sjöström McGill Lab.

Beatriz Mizusaki, Visiting PhD student: Feb 2016 - Dec 2016.

Beatriz is a Ph.D Student visting from Institute of Physics of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil. She is working on computer models of synaptic plasticity in neuronal circuits.

Sally Si Ying Li, undergraduate student: Sep 2015 - Aug 2016.

Sally did a 9-credit Honours Independent Research Project as well as a summer internship funded by Summerjobs Canada on Presynaptic NMDA receptors, using quadruple whole-cell recordings and 2-photon imaging. Sally is presently doing a PhD at Johns Hopkins/Janelia Farm.

Adamo Mancino, undergraduate student: McGill BSc Neuroscience, 1 Sep 2014 - Aug 2016.

Initially, Adam(o) performed manual morphological reconstructions of basket cells and Martinotti cells, in a project characterizing the expression of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors in neocortical interneurons. Subsequently, he used quadruple whole-cell recordings and two-photon laser-scanning microscopy in his 9-credit Independent Research Project to study presynaptic NMDA receptors in cortical layer 5 pyramidal cells. He followed up on this work in a summer internship funded by an NSERC USRA. Adamo is presently doing an MSc with Dr Derek Bowie at McGill University.

Alexandre Moreau, Postdoc: 2010-2011, funded by the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale and an EU FP7 grant, "Brain-i-Nets".

Alex did his MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Paris-XI (Orsay), and his PhD at Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire (CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette), working on serotonergic neuromodulation and on the balance of excitation/inhibition in Dr Philippe Fossier's team. Alex used 2-photon laser-scanning microscopy, whole-cell electrophysiology and neurotransmitter uncaging to study cholinergic neuromodulation and NMDA receptor expression patterns.

Julia Oyrer, PhD student: 2010-2015, funded by a UCL Impact Studentship and an EU FP7 grant, "Brain-i-Nets".

Julia worked on the expression of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors in neocortical interneurons using whole-cell recordings and 2-photon imaging. Julia was co-supervised with Mark Farrant at UCL.

Mic Rutledge, summer intern: Summer internship 2009 sponsored by a Physiological Society Vacation Studentship

Mic studied the role of presynaptic NMDA receptors in neocortical short-term synaptic depression. He did computer modelling and whole-cell electrophysiology. For his PhD he is investigating neocortical principles in auditory cortex of freely moving mice with Jennifer Linden and John O'Keefe at the UCL department of Cell and Developmental Biology.

Amrit Sampalli, undergraduate student, Neuroscience: May 2016-Aug 2017.

Amrit has been working in the lab as a 9-credit NSCI 430 Honors Independent Research Project as well as an NSERC USRA funded summer intern on refining an optogenetic kindling model of epilepsy. To do this, he employs fancy lasers like the one in this picture to stimulate neocortical neurons that have been infected with the gene coding for the light-sensitive ion channel Channelrhodopsin-2. Presently, he is at the U of T med program.

Adam Tudor Jones, MSc student: UCL MSc Neuroscience thesis project 2008-2009.

Adam studied the role of pre-synaptic NMDA receptors in synapses impinging on somatostatin-positive interneurons in the visual cortex. He did targetted whole-cell electrophysiology with pharmacology and laser-scanning confocal microscopy. Adam went on to do a PhD at the Anatomical Neuropharmacological Unit, University of Oxford.

Taiji Wang, undergraduate student: McGill BSc Neuroscience, September 2013 - March 2016.

Taiji completed her undergraduate research project which focused on the susceptibility for LTP in acute brain slices from epileptic and control mouse brain cortex. She also maintained the transgenic mice.