Has anyone extracted a class of neurons (or a connected set of neurons) and stimulated them electrically to get an understanding of their behavior?

If so, could someone point me to papers along these lines? If not, do people have an idea of why this is not been technically feasible yet? As I would imagine this would be tremendously useful in building neuron models.

  • $\begingroup$ Have you heard of optogenetics? For single neurons though there are classic experiments involving electrical stimulation. To me it seems like this question lacks any background study which makes it impossible to answer reasonably. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 2, 2020 at 8:02

1 Answer 1


Short answer
Although outside my direct area of expertise, there is quite a lot of literature on the topic. The trick often is to use the correct keywords. Key in "recording + stimulating + ensemble + neurons", or "Utah + neuron + implant".

There is quite some literature on this topic. For instance, a much used device in this arena is the Utah implant (Fig. 1), which can be used to record and also stimulate neurons (e.g., Nordhausen et al. (1994)). It has 100 penetrating electrodes and is even used in humans. There are also other approaches, e.g. by implanting a bunch of microwires (e.g., Nocolelis et al (1997)). In scientific jargon, the recording of multiple neurons simultaneously is often referred to as 'ensemble recording' (Nicolelis, 2008).

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Fig. 1. Utah Implant. Source: WebVision

- Fernandez & Normann, Introduction to Visual Prostheses. In: WebVision, online book
- Nicolelis, Methods for Neural Ensemble Recordings, 2nd ed., Front Neurosci, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2008
- Nicolelis et al. Neuron (1997); 18(4): 529-37
- Nordhausen et al., Brain Res (1994); 637: 27-36


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