Synaptic Plasticity of Neocortical Circuits

The Sjöström laboratory is in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Centre for Research in Neuroscience at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. The research at the Sjöström laboratory is focussed on the mechanisms and functional consequences of Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity (STDP) in neocortical microcircuits. To understand the mechanisms and functional roles of this form of plasticity, the Sjöström lab employs two-photon laser scanning microscopy, neurotransmitter uncaging, optogenetic tools, quadruple whole-cell recordings, and computational modelling.

In addition to contributing yearly to the Ion Channels and Synaptic Transmission course at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Dr Sjöström teaches cellular and computational neuroscience or coordinates the following courses at McGill University:

  1. PHGY 311 - Channels, Synapses, & Hormones, 3 credits
  2. NSCI 400 - Neuroscience Seminar, 1 credit
  3. NEUR 531-603 - Introduction to Computational Neuroscience, 3 credits
  4. NEUR 602 - Current Topics in Neuroscience: Classic and Cutting-Edge Techniques in Neuroscience, 3 credits
  5. NEUR 630 - Principles of Neuroscience 1, 3 credits

For highly motivated undergraduate students, the Sjöström lab also offers state of the art Research Projects. Students are generally required to first volunteer in the lab before being accepted for Research Projects, because these projects can be technically quite challenging and so typically require some preparation and planning.

  1. NSCI 420 - Independent Research Project, 9 credits
  2. BIOL 469 - Independent Research Project, 9 credits
  3. NSCI 430 - Honours Research Project, 9 credits
  4. BIOL 480 - Honours Research Project, 12 credits

To learn more about our previous work, please follow this link. The research of the Sjöström team has been funded by the UK Medical Research Council, the Royal Society, the European Community, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Savoy Foundation, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Sjöström Lab January 2017: Alastair, Jennifer, Christina, Amanda, Jesper, and Elvis -- Montreal, Canada.

Multicompartmental simulation of a reconstructed layer-5 pyramidal cell, in which a dendritically located synapse (arrow) is activated. The coloured dendrite shows how the EPSP decays to the resting membrane potential as it forward-propagates toward the soma; the axon is in gray. Axes are in micrometers. Modified from Blackman et al 2014.

Sjöström Lab May 2014: Therese, Julia, Txomin, Arne, Jesper, Elvis, and Rui -- East Meon, England.

Sample quadruple recording, showing a synaptically connected pair of neocortical layer-5 pyramidal neurons. An action potential in cell #3 results in an EPSP in cell #2.

Sjöström Lab April 2013: Txomin, Elena, Jesper, Elvis, and Therese -- Montreal, Canada.

Sjöström Lab April 2013: Therese, Jesper, Txomin, Elena, and Elvis -- Montreal, Canada.

Sjöström Lab Summer 2010: Rui, Julia, Jesper, Alex, Kate, and Arne -- London, England. Dale is missing.

Sjöström Lab Summer 2009: Dale, Jesper, Kate, Mic, and Adam -- London, England.