I have been working on intracellular recording techniques. In particular, I invented the Active Electrode Compensation technique, to estimate and subtract the electrode voltage in single-electrode recordings (1-4); this was a strongly interdisciplinary project involving theoreticians (in particular Alain Destexhe) and experimentalists (in particular Zuzanna Piwkowska and Thierry Bal). We have been developing, testing and applying the technique in various experimental setups. This work was supported by the ANR grant HR-CORTEX. In my group, we later developed another electrode compensation technique based on model fitting, which can track time-varying properties of the electrode (5).

I also edited a book entitled "Handbook of neural activity measurement" (Cambridge University Press, coedited with Alain Destexhe) (6), about modelling neural measurements, in which I wrote the chapter about intracellular electrophysiology, which explains the different compensation methods (7).

I am currently working on automating patch-clamp with two roboticists, Sinan Haliyo and Barthélémy Cagneau. My motivation is to make it possible for theoreticians in cellular neuroscience to directly test their theories by experimenting themselves. This is currently very difficult because patch clamp requires long training and is labor-intensive. I have started writing a package that allows simple control of an amplifier from a Python program, where you can choose to run the same experimental protocols on a neuron model (using Brian) or on the rig (documentation is not written yet!). Let me know if you are interested in contributing (e.g. to interface new amplifier models). A Python program for automatic patch-clamp is in progress.

Relevant publications:

  1. Brette, R., Piwkowska, Z., Rudolph, M., Bal, and A. Destexhe (2007). A non-parametric electrode model for intracellular recording.
  2. Brette R, Piwkowska Z, Monier C, Rudolph-Lilith M, Fournier J, Levy M, Frégnac Y, Bal T, Destexhe A (2008). High-resolution intracellular recordings using a real-time computational model of the electrode. (code)
  3. Brette R, Piwkowska Z, Monier C, Gomez J, Frégnac Y, Bal T, Destexhe A (2008). Dynamic clamp with high resistance electrodes in vitro and in vivo. Chapter in Dynamic Clamp, Bal T and Destexhe A (eds).
  4. Badel L, Lefort S, Brette R, Petersen CC, Gerstner W, Richardson MJ (2008). Dynamic I-V curves are reliable predictors of naturalistic pyramidal-neuron voltage traces.
  5. Rossant C, Fontaine B, Magnusson AK, Brette R (2012). A calibration-free electrode compensation method.
  6. Brette R and A. Destexhe (eds) (2012). Handbook of neural activity measurement. Cambridge University Press.
  7. Brette R and A. Destexhe (2012). Intracellular recording. Chapter in Handbook of neural activity measurement. Cambridge University Press.