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Hugh Robinson PhD

staff photo

University Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience
Tel: +44 (0)1223 333828 (office) +44 (0)1223 333835 (lab), Fax: +44 (0)1223 333840, E-mail:

My lab studies synaptic integration in mammalian cortical neurons – the encoding of synaptic inputs into patterns of action potentials, or spikes. We are currently interested in the following topics:

Development of advanced electrical stimulation techniques for probing synaptic integration (the conductance injection technique).

Ion-channel kinetics which are functionally relevant to synaptic integration, in particular voltage- and time-dependence of NMDA receptor kinetics.

The dynamics and reliability of spike generation and of gamma-frequency synchronization.

The diversity of spike dynamics amongst different cell types in the cortical circuit.

Coding by action-potential shape in cortical neurons.

Selected recent publications
Tateno T & Robinson HPC. (2011). The mechanism of ethanol action on midbrain dopaminergic neuron firing: a dynamic-clamp study of the role of Ih and GABAergic synaptic integration. J Neurophysiol in press.

Kim N-K & Robinson HPC. (2011). Effects of divalent cations on slow unblock of native NMDA receptors in mouse neocortical pyramidal neurons. Eur J Neurosci in press.

Subkhankulova T, Yano K, Robinson HPC & Livesey FJ. (2010). Grouping and classifying electrophysiologically-defined classes of neocortical neurons by single cell, whole-genome expression profiling. Front Mol Neurosci 3, 10.

Small M, Robinson HPC, Kleppe IC & Tse CK. (2010). Uncovering bifurcation patterns in cortical synapses. J Math Biol 61, 501-526.

Kang J, Robinson HPC & Feng J. (2010). Diversity of intrinsic frequency encoding patterns in rat cortical neurons—mechanisms and possible functions. PLoS One 5, e9608.

Gouwens NW, Zeberg H, Tsumoto K, Tateno T, Aihara K & Robinson HPC. (2010). Synchronization of firing in cortical fast-spiking interneurons at gamma frequencies: a phase-resetting analysis. PLoS Comp Biol 6, e1000951.

Tateno T & Robinson HPC. (2009). Integration of broadband conductance input in rat somatosensory cortical inhibitory interneurons: an inhibition-controlled switch between intrinsic and input-driven spiking in fast-spiking cells. J Neurophysiol 101, 1056-1072.

Robinson HPC. (2009). Synaptic conductances and spike generation in cortical cells. In Dynamic clamp: from principles to applications, ed. Destexhe A & Bal T. Springer.

Robinson HPC. (2008). A scriptable DSP-based system for dynamic conductance injection. J Neurosci Methods 169, 271-281.

Morita K, Kalra R, Aihara K & Robinson HPC. (2008). Recurrent synaptic input and the timing of gamma-frequency-modulated firing of pyramidal cells during neocortical "UP" states. J Neurosci 28, 1871-1881.

Tateno T & Robinson HPC. (2007). Quantifying noise-induced stability of a cortical fast-spiking cell model with a Kv3-channel-like current. Biosystems 89, 110-116.

EU Framework Programme 6, BBSRC, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.


Above: Simultaneous recording of two synaptically-connected pyramidal neurons in layer 2/3 of cortex.
[See Kleppe & Robinson, 2006]


Above: Recording NMDA receptor current in a nucleated patch isolated from a pyramidal neuron (left pipette) while perfusing with a stream of NMDA-containing solution (right pipette).
[photo: M. Vargas Caballero]


Above: Principal exponential components of open-channel probability relaxations in the asymmetric trapping block (ATB model) of NMDA receptor gating, for step changes in membrane potential from V1 to V2.
[See Vargas-Caballero & Robinson, 2004]


Above: Gamma oscillations in local-field potential and spike activity recorded in an acute slice of somatosensory cortex by multielectrode array.
[photo: Paolo Bonifazi]