Ortega, F., Butera, R., Christini, D., White, J. & Dorval, A., II. in Patch-Clamp Methods and Protocols (eds. Martina, M. & Taverna, S.) 1183, 327–354 (Springer New York, 2014).

The injection of computer-simulated conductances through the dynamic clamp technique has allowed researchers to probe the intercellular and intracellular dynamics of cardiac and neuronal systems with great precision. By coupling computational models to biological systems, dynamic clamp has become a proven tool in electrophysiology with many applications, such as generating hybrid networks in neurons or simulating channelopathies in cardiomyocytes. While its applications are broad, the approach is straightforward: synthesizing traditional patch clamp, computational modeling, and closed-loop feedback control to simulate a cellular conductance. Here, we present two example applications: artificial blocking of the inward rectifier potassium current in a cardiomyocyte and coupling of a biological neuron to a virtual neuron through a virtual synapse. The design and implementation of the necessary software to administer these dynamic clamp experiments can be difficult. In this chapter, we provide an overview of designing and implementing a dynamic clamp experiment using the Real-Time eXperiment Interface (RTXI), an open-source software system tailored for real-time biological experiments. We present two ways to achieve this using RTXI’s modular format, through the creation of a custom user-made module and through existing modules found in RTXI’s online library.