Whole-cell patch clamp is one of the most sensitive techniques in all of neuroscience. This technology has enabled wide ranging discoveries, such as measurements of single ion channels in neurons and the recording of electrically active cells in the living brain. However, it takes a lot of skill and time to perform – neuroscientists can train for months to get proficient at it.
One of the goals of the Precision Biosystems lab is to automate this important technique, and to that end, we have discovered that cleaning the sensitive glass pipettes is possible, enabling fully automated neuroscience. Check out the video below to see our robot in action, patching away on some HEK 293 cells:
We describe this technique in a recent article in Scientific Reports: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep35001