Monday, July 1, 2013

My friend Clay

Summer courses have started at Woods Hole, so time for another embarrassing story.

I was a tech for the imaging section of the neuroscience summer course around five years ago. I arrived a week early, during the e-phys section, to incubate some slice cultures. One evening after work some people from the course headed over to the local bar, the Kidd, and one of the physiologists introduced me to his older friend Clay.

"What do you study?" Clay asked me.

"I study AMPA receptor trafficking during LTP. Do you know much about it?"

"A little bit, but fill me in on the details."

I went on to explain that there are two main subunits of AMPA receptors at the synapse, GluA1 and GluA2. During LTP there is a change in inward rectification, which means that GluA1 receptors specifically are inserted into the synapse.

"Oh yeah?" Clay asked.

Seeing that he might not remember the intricacies of rectification, I explained in detail what inward rectification is, and how a positively charged amino acid in the receptor pore prevents positive ions from flowing in.

The next day I found out that Clay was in fact Clay Armstrong, one of the first people to study how ion pores affect rectification in potassium channels.

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