It takes one-thousand of a second for a membrane to polarize and initiate an impulse of excitation. The ionic mechanism that governs this process is what makes life possible. It is what maintains all vital process and help us crate memories, it is in any active cell of the heart and the brain, it is a bioelectric potential. But what really makes this process remarkable is that bioelectricity propagates with an incredible speed, faster than the speed of light. Capturing and dissecting such dynamic processes is everything but trivial.
In this White Paper, Dr. Shigeki Watanabe, from the Department of Cell Biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, explains that light stimulation and high pressure freezing hold the potential for manipulating cellular processes but having the possibility to apply electrical stimulation is the only way towards the quest for the ultimate time resolution of synaptic activity.