A wide variety of powerful molecular techniques have been applied to biology
in recent decades, ranging from recombinant DNA technologies to state-of-the-art
imaging methods. But the plethora of techniques available combined with the
complexities of neurobiological systems can make it difficult for neuroscientists
to select and carry out an experimental procedure to effectively address the
question at hand.
This laboratory manual serves as a comprehensive practical guide to molecular and cellular methods for neuroscientists. It consists of five major sections: Working with Cells, Working with DNA, Working with RNA, Gene Transfer, and Imaging. Each includes step-by-step protocols and discussions of basic and cutting-edge procedures for working in that area. Fundamental techniques include maintaining a sterile working environment, purifying and culturing neural cells, isolating and manipulating DNA and RNA, and understanding and using a microscope. Advanced topics include single-neuron isolation and analysis, in vivo gene delivery and imaging, optogenetics, RNA interference, transgenic technologies, high-throughput analysis of gene expression (e.g., RNA-Seq), and constructing and imaging fluorescent proteins.
The manual includes protocols developed in the Advanced Techniques in Molecular Neuroscience course offered annually at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, as well as protocols drawn from its best-selling lab manuals. It is an essential resource for all neuroscientists, from graduate students upward, who seek to use molecular techniques to probe the complexities of the nervous system.
Dr. Lansford is the recipient of the NASA Space Act Award for his contributions of Two-photon Microscope Imaging Spectrometer for Multiple Fluorecent Probes. Lansford has multiple patents for his systems and methods for monitoring cellular activity, as well as for his work in laser microscopy and imaging spectrometry. This development of a multispectral imager that allows the emission spectrum to be acquired from a single scan of specimen led to a multispectral detector based upon his invention, which is being sold by Zeiss. Dr. Lansford's scientific contributions, have been featured in the Pasadena Museum of California Art in an exhibit entitled, "Data + Art: Science and Art in the Age of Information," as well and the San Francisco Exploratorium and California Science Center, where his Quail Developmental Atlas procured from basic research as a biology, math, and physics educational tool.