Synaptic Function and Nanotools: Physiology at the Nanoscale

Laura Ballerini

Amount of frontal teaching:
15 hours

The course offers an introduction on synaptic physiology approached by microscopy, ultramicroscopy, electrophysiology, live imaging and opotgenetic tools and will review most recent experimental studies contributing to progress in synapse research by advances in superresolution imaging, quantum dot technology, and other super resolution technologies in dissecting presynaptic release machinery and /or dendritic spine dynamics. The focus of these lectures is on synaptic structure and function shifting from the traditional dimension within the micro-world to that at the nano-scale, the general aim is to give hints on how submicron investigations, or changing the dimension of investigation, might provide original views and breakthroughs in addressing current challenges in neuroscience.


  1. Nanotechnology: a brief overview
  2. Introduction to anatomy and physiology of synapses
  3. Classic microscopy and electrophysiology findings
  4. Live imaging, nanotechnology based and super-resolution approaches
  5. The dynamics of synaptic release
  6. Transcellular nano-alignment and synaptic function
  7. Dendritic spine and voltage compartmentalization
  8. Dendritic spine mechanical regulation of presynaptic bouton exocytosis

Copyright © 2013 SISSA. Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati

via Bonomea, 265 - 34136 Trieste ITALY