UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology



  • Signal formation and integration in neural circuits with astroglia
  • Organisational principles underlying synaptic structure and function
  • Activity-dependent control of neurotransmitter release
  • Nanomolar landscapes of basal Ca2+ in neurons and astroglia

This research contributes to the inter-disciplinary effort to address cellular mechanisms of epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases.

We combine two-photon excitation microscopy with patch-clamp electrophysiology and (opto)genetic tools to monitor calcium signalling in individual axonal boutons, dendritic spines and microscopic astroglial compartments in cultured cells, acute brain slices, and also in vivo.

A submillisecond-resolution solution-exchange methodology is used to probe receptor kinetics. We have developed compartmental and Monte Carlo biophysical models to examine (a) intracellular Ca2+ signalling, (b) rapid events inside and outside the synaptic cleft, (c) activity of neural networks involving astrocytes.

We have developed time-resolved fluorescence imaging methods to monitor nanomolar ion concentrations and quasi-instantaneous molecular diffusion in live cells in situ.