Students from the University of Connecticut, Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University, and the Universities of Pittsburgh and Maryland visited the Institute of Experimental Medicine CAS on June 11–12 to be trained in the methods used in auditory neuroscience. This was the seventh year for the course, and 28 students participated. The methods course is a part of the five-week Neuroscience in Salamanca Spain study abroad program at the University of Salamanca that includes courses in auditory neuroscience and Spanish language. The Prague Department of Auditory Neuroscience is an ideal site for training in research methods due to the diversity of techniques used to study the neurobiology of hearing. For this reason, Prof. Douglas Oliver, the Director of the Salamanca program, moved the methods section of the Salamanca course to Prague at the invitation of IEM. In the intensive, two-day course, American students were taught the methods for measurement of sound and the generation of acoustic stimulation, the methods of anesthesia in experimental animals, and surgical methods. They also learned about behavioral, electrophysiological and morphological methods. This included the techniques for recording of the activity of single neurons with extracellular microelectrodes and the use of patch clamp electrodes for recording synaptic potentials and currents. The students were able to visualize the activity of networks of neurons with two-photon calcium imaging. Finally, they were taught about contemporary diagnostic methods used in audiology for the assessment and treatment of hearing in patients. The theoretical information in lectures was always accompanied by laboratory visits and demonstrations where the students had a chance to ‘touch’ the method in the lab. Naturally, the students did not avoid sightseeing in Prague during the weekend.
Prof. Josef Syka, M.D., D.Sc.
guarantor of the Prague part of the course