Our group coordinates and participates in several Neuroscience courses for different curricula of the Medical (UMCN) as well as Science faculty (FNWI)

For questions regarding participation, content or organization, please contact the coordinator Dr. Schubert:

MOL021 Project: Cellbiophysics

- 1st year Bachelor Molecular Life Sciences, FNWI
- April-June, in English

Aim of the “project cellbiophysics” is to introduce students of molecular life-sciences to fundamental cell biophysics, by means of bioelectricity. Bioelectricity in based on unequal distributions of ions (ion gradients) over a cell’s membrane. Due to the membrane’s specific and selective ion permeability these gradients can generate a membrane potential. The membrane of excitable cells, such as neurons or muscle cells contains voltage dependent ion channels, which enable the cells to generate action potentials – the core of signal transmission in neural networks and controlled muscle activity. In this course we will discuss the different cell-physiological and biophysical properties that underlie the membrane potential of cells and the generation and transmission of action potential. We will furthermore discuss the specific role and function of ion channels in regulating the membrane potential and excitability of cells. Eventually the students will use the acquired knowledge for interpreting molecular life-science related problems, specifically the physiology and pathophysiology of muscle cells. Here we will focus on the partially severe muscular dysfunctions: skeletal muscle channelopathies.


5KNW9 Translationele Neuroscience
- 3rd year Medicine, UMCN, elective course
- March-April, every 2nd year, in Dutch

Waarom is er nog steeds geen middel tegen aandoeningen van de van de hersenen zoals Parkinson, hoewel die ziekte al decennia intensief bestudeerd wordt? Welke mogelijkheden voor therapieën worden er op dit moment gebruikt of onderzocht? Dit is de kernvragen van transnationale neurowetenschappen. Het begrip “translationeel” slaat op de overdracht van kennis tussen het onderzoek in de neurowetenschappen en de klinische praktijk. De neurowetenschappen maken op dit moment een snelle ontwikkeling door. De resultaten van het onderzoek vinden snel hun weg in de klinische praktijk. Andersom leiden de ervaringen in de kliniek weer tot nieuwe wetenschappelijke inzichten. In dit blok zullen zowel het onderzoek als de klinische praktijk aan bod komen, en de onderlinge bevruchting van deze twee.

In dit blok maakt de student kennis met de basis van de neurowetenschappen, en met recente ontwikkelingen op dit vakgebied. Verder worden de belangrijkste diagnostische technieken in de neurologie behandeld (EEG, MEG, MRI).
Als voorbeeld van de klinische implicaties worden een aantal neurale ziektebeelden uitgediept (Parkinson, neuromusculaire aandoeningen, verslaving, Alzheimer). De interactie tussen de wetenschappelijke ontwikkelingen en de klinische praktijk vormt de rode draad van dit blok.


MIN16 Translational Neuroscience
- New 3rd year Biomedical Science Minor, UMCN
- Starts Sept 2015, 20 weeks 2 days per week, in English

Why are there still no cures even for intensively studied neurodevelopmental and movement disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders? Starting from this basic question you are going to set a framework in this interfaculty minor “Translational Neuroscience” and draw upon the following topics: What is currently known about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these disorders – and what is not known? What state of the art scientific tools do we have to investigate these disorders? Where is preclinical and clinical research now and are there new treatments and therapies in sight? The problems clinicians and researchers nowadays face with neurodevelopmental and movement disorders range from diagnostics, neurobiology, genetics and research methodologies to therapy. Aim of this course is to enable you to apply the current knowledge in molecular, cellular and behavioral neurobiology to propose translational research strategies. This will enable you to better understand the etiology of neurological disorders and their potential treatments.

During the minor, you will have the opportunity to focus either more on the translational/clinical aspects of neuroscience or on the neurobiological/translational ones. These specialization modules will allow you get access to research labs or clinical research. As this minor is open to students with different backgrounds we start with an introductory week where we focus, through differential teaching programs, in bringing all students to the same level.


BB063B Neuroscience: From Basics to Clinics

- 3rd year Medical Biology, elective course, FNWI
- Sept -Nov, in English

How much is really known about single neurons, neural networks or the functions of the brain? How far is research in terms of treatment of severe neuronal diseases? What are the state of the art methods currently used in the laboratories worldwide for untangling the complex questions of neuroscience? These are the key questions that will be addressed and discussed during this course. The course will make use of most recent literature and the expertise of active researchers to give a detailed view of neuronal functions, cortical connectivity and pathophysiology of the brain. Furthermore, instead of just presenting facts, the research methodologies that stand behind the different findings will be explained and partially also demonstrated.

The course will consist of the following blocks:

Structural and functional organization of the brain
This block will first introduce into the organization and specialization of the most complex part of our brain: the cerebral cortex. It will be shown what is so far known about the different cortical areas, how they are connected and what methods are nowadays used to investigate this. The second part of this block will focus on the single neurons residing in the cortex. It will be explained how they can be morphologically and functionally classified and how one can reveal details about their integration into small and larger scale cortical networks. In the end of this block, knowledge and combinations of methodologies learned so far will be applied on specific research questions. Research questions that will be addressed will be on whether one can successfully transplant neurons into cortical tissue and how do signal processing pathways convert a sensed sensory stimulus into information that might be relevant for behavior?

Computational Neuroscience
In the computational modeling part of the course, we investigate the dynamics of neural activity from the cell membrane all the way up to neural networks. The manner in which electrical signals are received and transmitted by neurons will be elucidated through the use of models. For example, the generation of action potentials in the squid giant axon can be described with the Hodgkin-Huxley model, and by pattern generation with a network of a few neurons one can simulate the swimming of a fish on the computer.

Clinical neuroscience
Especially on the field of clinical neuroscience the research of the last couple of years had overthrown many of the "old" views about the causes and possible treatment strategies for depression, drug addiction, Alzheimer's and neurodevelopmental disorders (such as autism and intellectual dissability). For instance it is nowadays known that the monoamine hypothesis of depression is too simplistic, and that depression patients, as well as drug addicts, suffer from reduced prefrontal cortical control over subcortical areas, the latter of which are important for emotions and motivation. In this block the most recent hypotheses about these four severe clinical syndromes will be discussed. Apart from teaching basics, the lecturers will also introduce in detail their own research, from planning strategies to the most recent results.