Dr Hugh Robinson

Hugh Robinson

University position

Senior Lecturer

Dr Hugh Robinson is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



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Research Themes

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Systems and Computational Neuroscience


We study synaptic integration in mammalian cortical neurons - encoding of synaptic inputs into patterns of action potentials, or spikes. We are currently interested in

- development of advanced electrical stimulation techniques (conductance injection)

- 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

Whole-cell recording of synaptic connection between two layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the rat somatosensory cortex
Whole-cell recording of synaptic connection between two layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the rat somatosensory cortex
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Research Focus



synaptic integration

spike generation

neuronal dynamics

neural circuit

Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance


Calcium imaging

Computational modelling

Conductance injection

Electrophysiological recording techniques

Field potential recording

Fluorescence microscopy

Whole cell patch clamp


No collaborators listed

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Gouwens NW, Zeberg H, Tsumoto K, Tateno T, Aihara K, Robinson HP (2010), “Synchronization of firing in cortical fast-spiking interneurons at gamma frequencies: a phase-resetting analysis.” PLoS Comput Biol 6(9) Details

    Robinson HPC, (2009), “Synaptic conductances and spike generation in cortical cells.” In: Dynamic clamp: from Principles to Applications, Springer

    Tateno T, Robinson HP (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(2):1056-72 Details

    Morita K, Kalra R, Aihara K, Robinson HP (2008), “Recurrent synaptic input and the timing of gamma-frequency-modulated firing of pyramidal cells during neocortical "UP" states.” J Neurosci 28(8):1871-81 Details

    Robinson HP (2008), “A scriptable DSP-based system for dynamic conductance injection.” J Neurosci Methods 169(2):271-81 Details



    Shi Y, Kirwan P, Smith J, Robinson HP, Livesey FJ (2012), “Human cerebral cortex development from pluripotent stem cells to functional excitatory synapses.” Nat Neurosci 15(3):477-86, S1 Details


    Kim NK, Robinson HP (2011), “Effects of divalent cations on slow unblock of native NMDA receptors in mouse neocortical pyramidal neurons.” Eur J Neurosci 34(2):199-212 Details


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


    Tateno T, Robinson HP (2007), “Phase resetting curves and oscillatory stability in interneurons of rat somatosensory cortex.” Biophys J 92(2):683-95 Details


    Kleppe IC, Robinson HP (2006), “Correlation entropy of synaptic input-output dynamics.” Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 74(4 Pt 1):041909 Details

    Tateno T, Robinson HP (2006), “Rate coding and spike-time variability in cortical neurons with two types of threshold dynamics.” J Neurophysiol 95(4):2650-63 Details

    Yano K, Subkhankulova T, Livesey FJ, Robinson HP (2006), “Electrophysiological and gene expression profiling of neuronal cell types in mammalian neocortex.” J Physiol 575(Pt 2):361-5 Details


    de Polavieja GG, Harsch A, Kleppe I, Robinson HP, Juusola M (2005), “Stimulus history reliably shapes action potential waveforms of cortical neurons.” J Neurosci 25(23):5657-65 Details

    Mason MJ, Simpson AK, Mahaut-Smith MP, Robinson HP (2005), “The interpretation of current-clamp recordings in the cell-attached patch-clamp configuration.” Biophys J 88(1):739-50 Details

    Tateno T, Jimbo Y, Robinson HP (2005), “Spatio-temporal cholinergic modulation in cultured networks of rat cortical neurons: spontaneous activity.” Neuroscience 134(2):425-37 Details

    Tateno T, Jimbo Y, Robinson HP (2005), “Spatio-temporal cholinergic modulation in cultured networks of rat cortical neurons: evoked activity.” Neuroscience 134(2):439-48 Details


    Tateno T, Harsch A, Robinson HP (2004), “Threshold firing frequency-current relationships of neurons in rat somatosensory cortex: type 1 and type 2 dynamics.” J Neurophysiol 92(4):2283-94 Details

    Vargas-Caballero M, Robinson HP (2004), “Fast and slow voltage-dependent dynamics of magnesium block in the NMDA receptor: the asymmetric trapping block model.” J Neurosci 24(27):6171-80 Details


    Vargas-Caballero M, Robinson HP (2003), “A slow fraction of Mg2+ unblock of NMDA receptors limits their contribution to spike generation in cortical pyramidal neurons.” J Neurophysiol 89(5):2778-83 Details


    Robinson HP, Harsch A (2002), “Stages of spike time variability during neuronal responses to transient inputs.” Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 66(6 Pt 1):061902 Details


    Harsch A, Robinson HP (2000), “Postsynaptic variability of firing in rat cortical neurons: the roles of input synchronization and synaptic NMDA receptor conductance.” J Neurosci 20(16):6181-92 Details


    Kleppe IC, Robinson HP (1999), “Determining the activation time course of synaptic AMPA receptors from openings of colocalized NMDA receptors.” Biophys J 77(3):1418-27 Details


    Harsch A, Konno K, Takayama H, Kawai N, Robinson H (1998), “Effects of alpha-pompilidotoxin on synchronized firing in networks of rat cortical neurons.” Neurosci Lett 252(1):49-52 Details


    Robinson HP, Kawai N (1993), “Injection of digitally synthesized synaptic conductance transients to measure the integrative properties of neurons.” J Neurosci Methods 49(3):157-65 Details